Monday, August 27, 2012

Fragrance Review: Best Date Night or Night Out Scents For Men

To continue my series of advisory reviews, I decided to put together two lists...the first (this one) is a list of my recommended Date Night Scents for Men  (the second being, date night scents for women). This list was made using fragrances I own as well as fragrances I have sampled.

One thing all the fragrances have in common is all of them have been worn out at night (either to a date with the girl or night out with the boys and garnered the attention of other women...or dudes). I think this list will entail something for everyone...high schoolers, college students, yuppies, hipsters, older gentlemen, etc.

How do I choose a night out scent? This selection doesn't revolve around the "one thing" most guys look for in a night out...that one thing being seduction. Seduction may be a part of it...but not the end all. If you have the swagger of a turtle, the personality of a rock, and the elocution of GW Bush, you can douse yourself in one of these potions and you'll still find yourself dialing a 900 number at night. The point is, pick a fragrance for more intimate moments based on one that reflects your personality...but make sure you back it up! The scent is only something that amplifies your aura...but in order to do must have an aura to begin with!

1a. Lumiere Noire Pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
    Ooh this is a goddamn beauty. People cannot stop sniffing me when I wear this because it leaves everyone around me intrigued. Exceptionally unique, I find no fragrance, let alone a rose based scent, that smells anything like this. Black Light is such an apt name...A light airy fragrance with the darkness of spice and a brooding rose that will mystify any nostril that dares to take a whiff. I have a thing about wearing black so this is a perfect signature for me. You can wear this in any weather, any occasion, and at anytime. It is a beautiful scent and a work of art, and one the sexiest, most alluring scents ever made. It is not a sillage monster, but believe me, it does well. On a cool fall day when I sport this in the city, I literally can tell that heads are turning. 10/10.

1b. New Haarlem by Bond No. 9
    Sweet, sexy, unique, and  comforting. It is what every woman wants, no? So rock this on a night out, and believe me it will be a worthy wingman. This is one of those scents that doesn't define the genre of "cologne."  No this is rather a unique take on the senses. On a night out, this does wonders. Not only does it last a ton, but it projects like a beast. Go easy on the trigger and the trail that you will leave will sure to garner followers in short skirts and heels.

2. Envy by Gucci
   The discontinued masterpiece. Very hard to find (at a reasonable price). A green, spicy beauty, this daring fragrance truly is a timeless classic. Not only does it have a seductive quality to it, but it also has hidden beneath it, a fresh, slightly sweet sillage, that is enveloped in mild spices. Aah I can't wait til my bottle comes in the mail!  Definitely check ebay auctions for this one.

3. Allure by Chanel
    Nuff said. One thing I love about Chanel...always true to its name :-)

4. Aventus by Creed
     This is awesome at night. Why? Because it is unexpected. Dawn usually calls for spicy, dark, incense based fragrances, while some men choose to do a 180 and smell of something lighter, aquatic, or fruity. Now imagine a hybrid between these two poles...imagine a spicy, dark, fruity, incense based apple/pineapple scent with incense undertones? What you just imagined is Aventus and believe me this is perfect for a night out. Quality juice (like all Creeds) this will last til the very end..and then some...people may just be staring at you for other reasons during your walk of shame ;-)   

5. Ambre Narguile by Hermes
    Ooh spicy, honeyed apples, laced with hookah tobacco, with amber juggling all three brilliantly. If this doesn't get you hickies, I don't know what will (oh yeah..the presence of a grimy, horrible, aura). If you can pull this off, you should wear it out more often. Nothing but compliments on this one, and women LOVE this stuff. But let me tell you something airy as this fragrance can has excellent projection and sillage. When you, yourself, get whiffs of it on your evening adventures, you, too, feel a surge of confidence and sexiness. This will also be on the Women's version of this list. I think people categorize this as "gourmand" because of the apple notes and a slightly creamy notion that gives it this "apple pie" me.. I think this is a spicy oriental with a rich tobacco and amber backbone, and a "gourmand" only in its absolute end stage of the drydown (like the dry down's dry down is gourmandish).

6. One Million and Black XS by Paco Rabanne
    I put both of these Paco classics in one grouping because I think these are perfect for the club well as high school and college students. Even on a date this would do well...there's nothing seductive or alluring about either...they are just pure head turners that smell really damn good. No complexity, no interesting development...just pure damn good smells. Great for clubbing because they cut through the thick air and smoke and melange of hundreds of fragrances, and they last all day! The only problem one may find is, more than 50 of you at one time in one particular club will smell of One Million. It's just a fact. I smelled it on a bouncer once and realized it is so popular that you can smell even before you step inside. But still good scents and cheaper than the others mentioned before.

7. Code by Armani
   Another one if you are on a budget but want to smell really really nice. Imagine a dark citrus fragrance, with a touch of powder, softened by Guiaco Wood, with Vanilla undertones. I don't know if vanilla is in this but I get that vibe. It comes off as a brooding citrus WITH some light florals, but light woods. This is awesome....I think this USED to be popular, but died down with time. Only issue with this is longevity. But if you put some of this on before going out, it will definitely wing you for the best moments!

8. La Nuit De L'Homme by YSL
   I was about to put L'Homme down because I like it so much...until I realized there is another one better suited for the night. A spicy sweetened lavendar fragranc...LNdL is masculine scent where the florals bloom amidst a beautiful blend of spices...woods form the backdrop, while a tolerable sweetness emerges. This was MADE for the night. L'Homme is your everyday signature...while this badboy is just that...a badboy for the night. I mean look at the spokesperson for it..Vincent Cassel...this guy straight up just looks like everyday is a walk of shame...but he does it with swag...and this fragrance is made for anyone else who can.

....A word on Musc Ravageur by Maurice Roucel for Frederic Malle
I would like to make this number 9...but there is a huge problem with this scent. Is it nice? Yeah. Is it good for night outs? Yeah. Will it please Everyone? Absolutely not.  I guess I could make this 9. and call it the best night out scent for a mature man...30+...because I do not see this working for EVERYONE who is under that age group...assuming that the 30+ man I speak of IS out with a woman his age or older. If you are a young guy and you are into cougars..this will work everytime. The mature nose is far different than the younger. Mature women have smelled it all....their olfactory gene code has Drakkar Noir, Anteus, Givenchy Pour Homme fully integrated...In fact, scents like One Million are just pleasant whiffs of air for these experienced women. I think women over 30+ who just like nice, musky, strong smells will love Musc Ravageur...but NOT every young female will enjoy this. That is why I can't put this is a contender in the best night out scents. It is a damn good one though..just not the best. However, it is among the best night out scent..for a woman! More on that later.

9. 24 Gold by Scentstories
   Based of the hit show, 24 on Fox, 24 Gold is a flanker to the original 24 The Fragrance. This one, however, took a different turn...for the sweeter. Think white chocolate, raspberry tart...with Aoud wood lurking in the background, and a light touch of incense. This stuff is heavenly, if applied right (it can seriously knock you the fuck out the way Jack Bauer would). Have you ever smelled those White frosted Christmas cookies that are shaped like Christmas Trees and have green sprinkles on them? When you're about to take a bite of one of those, the smell that overwhelms your nose as you take that first munch, is exactly what the sillage of this smells like...with some berries, incense, and Aoud added to the mix. It is very nice, elegant, cozy, and sexy! Perfect for a date. This is niche quality perfumery with an amazing price!!! (<45 bucks)!

10. John Varvatos Classic By John Varvatos
   This shit is awesome. It should be much higher up actually, but forget the ratings. This stuff is pure masculinity, and pure "cologne" in a bottle. To the average lady or crowd, this is what a man's scent should be. Extremely woody with a sweet base, but it has that soft sparkly musk that adds some "tonic" to your gin. This is awesome stuff. Only pitfall...horrible, horrendous, blasphemous longevity. 2-3 hours and this shit is gone (on clothes too)! Unless your skin is blessed, this may need to be overdone. However, if your goal is a quick run to a restaurant, a short date, then spray this on and you won't be disappointed. Great signature, and not that bad of a price. In fact it is so good that I would carry a small decant just to reapply because everyone should be able to smell this stuff!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fragrance Review: My Most Complimented Scents

Compliment factor….the top reason for fragrance blind buys, in my opinion. Consider “the number of compliments” the icing on the cake for one who will soon venture out to cop a fragrance Ray Charles style. So it is only right that I share fragrances that have garnered the most compliments. Now, how did I decide on these fragrances, you ask? Like this:
1.        Fragrances in my personal collection that have given me an outlandish number of compliments,
2.       Fragrances in my personal collection that have given me compliments as soon as began wearing it, whether or not the number was high…but a fragrance that captivated an audience on the first or second day of wearing.
3.       Samples that I have given a few wearings but still managed to elicit compliments
Now, as far as putting these scents in any order..ehh…I could sit and ponder, but I have a life. So I will not be putting these scents in any particular order, just the names of the ones I know have done very well. These are compliments from ladies and men, of all sizes, shapes, and ages. While I write this, if one does stand out as “the one” that got more compliments than Armani sold bottles of Acqua Di Gio, then I will be sure to mention. On with the list:

1.       Terre D’Hermes
In case you haven’t noticed by now, this shit tends to make almost every list. The only list this would never make is a “Do Not Try” list. This is an incredible scent when it comes to compliments because it is a familiar note (citrus-fresh) but done in a unique manner. What do others smell? They smell a sparkly, bittersweet, earthy, orange zest. What does it for the “laymen” that acts as the foundation for his or her compliment? The Sparkly-Bittersweet, part. The earthiness is something for us fumeheads to appreciate, but others get this gorgeous, mineral-like, orange zest that got me compliments like “Damn you smell good!” as soon as I walked up to the counter at a Starbucks or “Holy shit you smell gooooood!”

2.       Canali For Men EDT
“I love your cologne!”  “What is the name of your cologne and where do I buy this?” are some of the things said to me when I wear this bad boy. A fruity, leather, Italian scent that is masculine, refined, and classy in every way, Canali for Men is a compliment bomb! The only time you won’t get any remarks is about 4-5 hours into the scent life….why? Because the scent is virtually non-existent courtesy of its terrible longevity. However, the scent is rather cheap, so keep reapplying…you won’t be sorry!

3.       Ambre Narguile by Hermes
“In case you’re wondering why I am walking behind you, it’s because I am getting whiffs of your cologne and it smells fucking awesome!”   “Omg this is seductive!” Ambre Narguile is a magic carpet ride of spices, amber, apples, and cinnamon. It holds a transparent feel which prevents it from becoming to cloying (if sprayed right, of course). It dries down to a sweet, cinnamon, vanilla amber and it is just luxurious! I just wished my housemate was able to smell the end stages of this! I never stop receiving compliments when I wear Ambre Narguile. In fact, this is one of those fragrances that immediately caught attention on the first day I ever wore this from a sample!

4.       Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme
This is “The One,” no pun intended. Seriously, this is my most complimented fragrance…but I know why the number is so high. It’s high because I have worn this for SO many years…the longest of any signature scent I have ever had. Once I found out they reformulated this bad boy, I stopped wearing it. But everyone from my high school senior days to college would just go ape shit over this. It’s a sexy, masculine, fragrance with one of the smoothest and most incredible drydowns I have ever experienced. Now, all this praise is for the original formulation (with the silver/blue sticker)… The new formula, on the other hand, sucks.

5.       Happy For Men by Clinique
Light, sweet, oranges..enough said. Who wouldn’t like this? It’s not groundbreaking or earth shattering…but it’s a damn good smell! I would love to be in a room that smells like this. Thus, those who have smelled this on me have responded in the same fashion…they love it! It is light, refreshing, and honestly…it is a happy scent! It reminds of me nice, summer days, when you just feel your best. I have received a ton of compliments wearing this.

6.       Allure Pour Homme by Chanel
Do I even have to say anything about this? I remember, I even got compliments when I rubbed one of those magazine/newspaper samples on my arms.

7.       Angel Men by Thierry Mugler
See above review.

8.       Dior Homme Intense by Christian Dior
A classy, sexy, dark, refined, chocolate and iris scent, flanker to the original Dior Homme, and compliment getter for sure! I wear this in the evenings, during formals, events, things like that, and goddamn does it do well. Keep this for special occasions, and you will wow those around you, in addition to smelling very unique.

9.       L’instant De Guerlain Pour Homme Extreme by Guerlain
I can go on about this. Here’s my latest compliment:  I walked passed a girl walking with a guy, and I heard her say “Holy shit that dude smells good.”  And The dude that was with her says “You smelled that too? Damn that was good.”  I think after D&G Pour Homme, L’instant is right after it in the most compliments I have ever received.

10.   Mandorlo Di Sicilia by Acqua Di Parma
I have to mention this. It has not gotten a TON of compliments, because I do not wear it as often as I would like to. But the reason I will mention it is because it received a compliment from someone who absolutely hates fragrances. This is someone who sneezes and leaves the room when people put colognes and perfumes on. This person is my sister. I once put on Mondorlo Di Sicilia on really quickly before heading out, and she stopped and said "Hmm..okay..that smells good.”  I figured she definitely wasn’t talking about the fragrance since she hates them, so I thought maybe my mother was baking some cake or something. She said “No you idiot, your cologne. THAT stuff is good!”  I have worn it very little since then, but to me, if my sister likes what you’re wearing, it has to be pretty damned good. Overall, I love this scent and since this is sort of like my “honorable mention” I think I will be wearing this today. It is an airy, powdery, almond scent. I think I do not wear it that often because there’s something missing from it…the almond becomes a little too cloying later on, and it is very thick. I wish something else was put in it to balance it out. Overall a good scent and I can see it doing well with compliments.

11.   Reflection Man by Amouage
Working straight from a sample, I applied this on night outs. Holy shit. I mean, compliments through the roof from friends I went out with to random people sitting next to me at a dessert spot to the lounge that we ended the night in. The sillage on Reflection is phenomenal and a head turner for sure.

12.   Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani
Now we head into “played out” territory….scents that are very, very, good, but are notorious for being ubiquitous. Acqua Di Gio is definitely the first of its kind. But if you don’t care about wearing something most people own (and you shouldn’t), then this baby is awesome. This is to aquatic/marine scents, what Shalimar is to orientals. I mean it is just so light, refreshing, and unbelievably long lasting! When everyone else in high school was wearing Curve or Boss Bottled, I would wear this and damn did this kill. I still have it and wear it on occasion and it seems as if people still do not recognize it..and it does some serious damage! I think the once “played out” scents need to make a come back!

13.   One Million by Paco Rabanne
Another awesome scent that everyone and their dad and their Persian cab driver has. One Million is a serious compliment getter for two reasons: 1. It smells so damn nice  and 2. It projects like a monster! One spray and people feet from you will get whiffs of this. This is an epic clubbing scent in my opinion and I have received a ton of compliments wearing this from the subway on my way to a party or at one. I accidentally sprayed this stuff on my gf’s sleeves and I could smell it on her  while she was on the other side of a pharmacy aisle. It definitely smells good and even I would compliment someone wearing this! Only caveat…a lot of people have it…if that poses to be a problem for you.

14.   Original Santal by Creed
Sandalwood is a hit or miss for most people. Some like it, some don’t. Period. But Original Santal does it ever so lightly with a very airy cinnamon thrown in there with that signature Creed “freshiness” to it. Original Santal blossoms on my skin and really gives off a masculine, woody, refreshing scent. One person told me that I smell like the most sexiest, masculine, man on earth! Now if that don’t make you feel good, I don’t know what does! The one CREED that got me the most compliments.

15.   Bvlgari Pour Homme Soir by Bvlgari
This one is unique. This is an amber that mingles with Bvlgari’s signature tea note…and it is done very well. I find this very youthful too, as in a college or late high schooler can pull this off. I wore it in medical school and it did very well with compliments. My only issue was the longevity, as with every Bvlgari fragrances (except for Notte) on my skin.

16.   L de Lolita by Lolita Lempicka
But wait! This is a women’s fragrance! What gives? is MARKETED as a scent for women…but this is most definitely a unisex scent. Had this been a niche fragrance glorified all over the net with the name MAURICE ROUCEL…this would lead to blind buys galore. Men..put aside your machismo and try this stuff. Get a sample off ebay or something because that is what I did when I read Chandler Burr’s review on this while trying to see what his take on Au Masculin was. This was the only Lolita he reviewed and he states he wears this, I think. Not that I rely on this kind of stuff but I read the notes and thought..”wow ..this is simple” Then I found out Maurice Roucel was the nose, and figured okay, this can’t be THAT bad. I was blown away. So blown that I bought a bottle of it. I love it. When people smell it on me, not ONE remark about how it is “feminine” or “girly” comes out. Guys ask me what I am wearing because that cinnamon, vanilla, citrus drydown with a tad bit of saltiness comes alive on my skin and enchants the living shit out of everyone around me – yes even masculine guys are enchanted by a scent worn by another man. This is an AWESOME fragrance. Let me repeat…had this been a Frederic Malle or something…this would be on every nose’s radar..or nostril hair or whatever it is. Not to say Lolita Lempicka isn’t worthy of such praise, but being that it is designer and comes in a rather glamorous bottle with the feminine appeal, this goes unnoticed. Try this won’t be disappointed. (Oh, and when I explain to people that it is a woman’s fragrance..the response is generally..”Really??”) I worked from a small Eau De Parfum sample and everyday I wore this I got compliments. I will review this in the future.

17.   Cereus No. 14
Last but not least, Cereus No. 14. Since I got a decant of this, the compliments would not stop. This is a masculine, classy, boozy, rich, but smooth fragrance. From top to drydown, this thing is a beauty. Sillage, longevity...NO problems...all way above average on my skin. What does it smell like? Imagine a rich, boozy, dark pineapple/orange vibe, vaporized into a powder. It begins very very powdery, but dries down to an extremely rich, smooth, elegant scent. This is my favorite from the line and I have to say, one of the best scents I have smelled. When you smell're going to get the feeling that this has been done before..and it, Canali for Man Prestige,  Idole De Lubin....but this is the exclusive, perfectly tailored, sleek Canali suit....Canali redefined. Cereus is the Idole De Lubin with the booziness lowered a little (but still present) but extremely refined. Try this, you won't regret it! Oh and a GREAT signature!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fragrance Review: The Best Signature Scents for Men

I've been sniffing a lot of shit lately. Okay that came out wrong -  I've been sampling many a fragrance lately. It is, thus, hard for me to narrow down the ones I would like to review. I want to make sure I get a couple of wearings out of each so that I may ensure accurate descriptions and reviews. I've tried a ton of new fragrances at Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's and all the way downtown to MiN New York. I had the opportunity to try out some more Carner Barcelona fragrances (Tardes, D600), some Byrodo and Cereus, Washington Tremlett (holy shit did I love Black Tie and that just may be my next review), Penhaligon's, and plenty more. What did I get out of this big fragrance expedition? Two things: 1. Coffee Beans are good at clearing out nostrils   2.  I am fucking fragrance nutjob.

Anyhow,since I have matched into residency all my attending physicians gasp when I tell them "I will be doing a surgical residency." They respond with "There, there child. All will be well." After looking left, right, and behind them, they lean in closer and say "Listen, in case you die during residency..just take the next two months off and spend it with your family, friends, go on vacation etc."  After a brief pause, "In probably are going to die...umm...sooo...just go home and now and savor your final days."
So I have a lot of free time before my impending demise. Since I am waiting to bust out a ton of reviews within a matter of days, I decided to do a series of "advice" reviews...what better way to kick this off than to let dudes in on the best signature scents out there.

With that said, these are listed in no particular order. I am writing about them as they come to mind. So don't freak out if you see some overly hyped fragrance at the bottom of the list. I will do my best to keep it under 10 or 15, since there are a TON of signature scent colognes...the ones I will pick are the ones I have tried or have, and are in my opinion UNIQUE, DIFFERENT, and NOT something EVERYONEEE and their daddy has. There will be a mix of designer and niche. Some are popular, but you won't smell them ubiquitously (at least I haven't and I live in New York fucking City).

1. Terre D'Hermes EDT by Hermes  

The surrogate mother who gave birth to this thread. When I saw my half empty bottle of Terre sitting in my fragrance fridge (told you I'm a nutcase) I thought "holy ass...let's do a signature scent review in the meantime)! This is the epitome of signature in my opinion. You cannot get more versatile than this. The fragrance is fresh and "sparkly" enough to carry you through the warmer weather, yet so deep, earthy, and rich to provide solace in the colder months. Perfect for any affair, Terre D'Hermes is a must try citrus centered earthy fragrance that will garner compliments while simultaneously keeping it inoffensive regardless of season or situation.

2. Canali for Men EDT/Canali Prestige EDP

Classic Italian. These are two extremely signature worthy scents by the elegant house of Canali -  a designer that truly flies under the radar, but puts out excellent scents, in my opinion. The reason I put Canali for Men EDT and the EDP Prestige edition is not because of a tie...but because of the notorious longevity issues with the original Canali for Men (the bottle on top). Canali for Men EDT is a fruity, leathery, musk based fragrance that is extremely classy and clean. Most importantly, to be signature you must be versatile, and Canali sure as hell knows how to put out dynamic scents. In fact, I think all of their fragrances are signature worthy, but these two are by far the best in my opinion. I prefer the EDT over the EDP Prestige (bottom bottle)...the reason is the EDT provides a great sense of freshness that does very well in the spring and summer. The mid to drydown provides woods and leather that truly flourish in the cooler periods. The Prestige edition still maintains this uplifting feeling but it is still darker than the original and a lot woodier, making it better for cooler weather. However I decided to throw it into the review because the longevity really does suffer with the EDT, and for those who LOVE the original but truly can't stand the lack of staying power, then the EDP is the way to go!

3. New Haarlem by Bond No. 9
HEAR ME OUT FIRST! Yes, I know, your average fragrance connoisseur will be like "What on EARTH are you talking about??? This is SO not a signature, because it is a coffee based GOURMAND and it is ONLY applicable in the COLDEST weather.
To thee I say, bullshit.
Why? Because this fragrance is GENIUS that's why! Maurice Roucel truly made a pastry like scent uplifting, but green at the same time! Yes, there is some greenness to it that really gives it a fresh tune. Sweet...but a very nice, pleasant sweet. The kind of sweet that makes you sigh. The type of feeling you get when you eat your favorite chocolate dessert and wash it down with a cold glass of milk (assuming you're not lactose. Then just go ahead and drink some soy or some shit like every other damn New Yorker). True, NH is a coffee based fragrance that reminds many of french toast, coffee cakes, syrupy pancakes, and thus only relevant for the cold. Oh it does great in the cold. BUT, if you go light on the trigger, this will do WONDERS no matter WHERE you are! 
Sillage is what counts because it is what everyone else smells. This is YOUR smell. This is YOUR aura. New Haarlem envelopes you in the most majestic, and magnificent of force fields. This is the kind of aura that Rick James had ladies and gents. An extremely LIGHT, syrupy coffee scent is emitted. Now if you douse yourself in this shit (as with any fragrance) it will knock you the fuck out. But, I think this is an extremely versatile fragrance if DONE lightly in the seasons most would say it is unfit for (namely, summer and warm springs). But overall, just go easy with it, and believe me you will enjoy your experience with this as a signature scent.

4. Aventus by Creed

When it comes to CREED, times get tough man. For real. This was a very hard decision because I think most CREED fragrances can fall under the signature scent category. Take your pick among the Green Irish Tweeds, Millesime's, and Original's and you won't go wrong. So why did I pick CREED's latest creation as the best of signature scent's for men? Because it has a little bit of everything. Aventus is a fruity blast, no doubt, but that is not all to it. To me, it is a "fruit absolute"..meaning, the natural smell of fruits extracted into oil form. This bestows an elegant feel but very resilient as well. Aventus is sure to garner compliments and I speak from experience. Work day? No problem. Night out with the boys or the significant other? Aventus will prove to be a worthy wingman as it mingles with the atmosphere. This is one brilliant smoky, leather based, fruit fragrance that will wow those around you. It is just brilliant and an extremely well put signature scent. (if you find yourself out at a Creed Boutique or any retailer of, check out Original Santal, Millisime Imperiale, Green Irish Tweed, and Himalaya - I find these other great Creed fragrances that can act as your olfactory branding).

5. Allure Homme by Chanel and its flankers

Like Creed, here is another fragrance house that truly rocks the signature scent world...and what more do I have to say about this timeless classic that hasn't already been said? An epitome of signature fragrances. Honestly, when I think of the word "cologne"...I think of Allure. It just has that perfect "cologne" smell. A gorgeous blend of woods, florals, and citrus. Extremely well balanced and well blended. If Allure poses to be a little too much for you, try the flankers (Allure Homme Sport and Allure Homme Edition Blanche. These are lighter versions of the original and still do the job well). But, in my honest opinion, I would make Allure Homme the original my signature amongst the 3.  (While you're at the Chanel counter, check out Platinum Egoiste while you're at it. Though I prefer the original Egoiste, it is not signature worthy and mainly a cold weather scent. The Platinum edition would do very well as a signature. Oh, toss in Bleu De Chanel as well  :-).

6. L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent
 Speaking of the word, "cologne," here is yet another fragrance that comes to mind with that awesome "men's cologne" smell. When I first tried this out, I remember spraying this on in Long Island at a boutique at some rich people mall and subsequently getting lost on the winding, snake-like roads of the Northern Shore of Central Long Island. While I was driving with my windows down (the North Shore of Long Island has some absolutely breath taking scenery plus it was Spring so the breeze from the water was magical) I caught whiffs of L'Homme. The sillage is a gorgeous, well blended, soft, woody, and citrus, with this phenomenal "tang" offered by ginger. Believe me, this shit is sexy while simultaneously exuding class. Additionally, it is so versatile...not too cloying in the warmer months, perfect for Spring (in fact, probably BEST in spring), excellent in the winter, perfect for any occasion, and when the skin warms up..L'Homme truly blooms. Of course, with such rave must come some guessed it...longevity. On my skin this stuff gives me about 4-5 hours....NOT bad, but not great either. I like my colognes to last very long. Projection is extraordinary during its short but fulfilling lifespan.

I am sure at this point, you may wonder which of these (if any) is my signature scent. None. My signature is completely out of the blue. Not because I am trying to be cool or is because  the scent that exemplifies me is so damn good I just cannot go days without wearing it. In addition, this fragrance truly is ME. At first, it was just a personal belief...I would always say, this is "Abhi in a bottle." I thought maybe it was just my own way of pleasing my mind but then others who smelled this on me or from the bottle would say "This scent is TOTALLY you" or "Wow you definitely pull this stuff off."  What is it you ask?  Ambre Narguile by Hermes. 

This shit is completely mind blowing. It is spicy, comforting, very daring, and extremely seductive. Is that why I wear it? No...that's what I felt when I first smelled it though. I wear it because it's just a gorgeous, transparent, scent that really takes me on a magic carpet ride, every time I wear it..which is often. In the summer, I don't wear it much..sometimes I'll spray one on my chest...enough to get a light, airy, "tasting," if you will, of doesn't becoming cloying in the summer if done this way and I still get to enjoy it! Its not that versatile, it's not good for every occasion, but I don't give a rat's bum about that. I love it and it's my signature!  However, within the Hermessence line of fragrances, the one I find very signature worthy is Vetiver Tonka.  Moving on....

6.  Dior Homme EDT by Christian Dior

 One of the most raved fragrances in the community is the Intense version of Dior Homme. The intense version, however, is NOT a signature scent. The original Dior Homme, pictured here, is a very versatile fragrance. As a semi-sweet, powdery, iris themed floral fragrance with cocoa undertones, Dior Homme has an extremely transparent feel and creates a feather-like ambiance. I find this extremely pleasing and would do well in any situation or environment. Though it is a light fragrance it sure makes a go light on the trigger or else consider this feather tied to a cannon ball, aiming for your nose!

7. L'instant de Guerlain EDT

This is a BEAUTIFUL fragrance. I mean beautiful in its most accurate something that is so friggin' pretty that you cannot keep your eyes off it. If beauty was a scent, it would be the L'Instant family. How Guerlain does it, I don't know, but a magnificent blend of anise, jasmine, cocoa, woods, and citruses is what fills this classy bottle. The EDT is great..but, longevity is lackluster. If you need to fulfill your lasting needs, the Extreme EDP version of this fragrance will surely do the job...I think the EDT makes a better olfactory barcode for yourself. Don't get me wrong, the EDP is still a good signature, but the EDT is just better for that purpose. If longevity poses to be an issue...EDP all the way. This is a classy, charming, yet alluring scent for your everyday needs. Definitely check this one out!

8. Vetiver Extraordinaire by Dominique Ropion for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Vetiver is done exceptionally well in this fragrance, and gives it such a versatile flavor. The vetiver here elopes with a beautiful woody and earthy base. I sense an initial blast of lime which truly anchors the vetiver from being too dense and unbearable. This is one of two Frederic Malle's I own..the other I even have to say it? Anyhow, I think for a niche vetiver fragrance, this is done phenomenally well...the vetiver keeps it fresh..absolutely fresh, and with bergamot and lime lurking in the top notes, you have an excellent warm weather feel. Even in the cold however, the vetiver is so extremely grounded by the deep woods and earthiness, that a cool breeze compliments the sillage and people will definitely ask you what that amazing fragrance you are wearing is called. How do I know? Because it has happened a lot when I wear VE in the winter time! I think it is a fragrance best suited for Spring, but overall, a good year-round scent.

9. Graphite Blue by Realities (Liz Claiborne). 

If you are on a budget, consider this your best bet for a signature. This is good stuff man, seriously! There are others, but this one comes to mind first. I had to take my sister to Sears once in NJ to return something, and I got bored waiting around and didn't want to walk the mall. Since the Sears fragrance department was close by I just went over and sampled whatever was out. Normally I would go to Sephora, Nordstroms, or Lord and Taylor for my "designer" sampling...Sears would have never come to mind. But holy smokes was I glad I sampled Sears' shit. Graphite Blue has a very slight resemblance to Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme. However, that woody/citrusy/almost pungent start to D&G is missing in Graphite Blue. This is a very nice, clean, peppery, smell with a smooth woody finish. It gives an excellent sillage, sure to garner compliments, a great fraction of the cost of even low end designer scents (look for this online), classy, and well-rounded!

10. Endymion by Penhaligons

Will definitely be a purchase. I fell in love with this scent as soon as I tried it and it had signature written all over it. This is layered scent with different "types of" personalities in one. The scent starts out with this nice, clean, citrusy, soapy beginning  courtesy of bergamot, lavendar, and some musk in the backdrop. Later, leather begins to reveal itself as the coffee note lingers. I get a incensy or smoky vibe from this...something extremely mysterious but clean! A versatile, mysterious, clean scent....very complex and evolving. I love it! In fact, I may just go buy it now!! A full review is sure to come!

11.  Reflection Man by Amouage

Before I go on, those on a budget..step the fuck away. This fragrance doesn't put dents in wallets. It totals them. Is it worth the price tag...ehhhh...I think so...WHY...because of pure quality. It's not an earth shattering fragrance..but it is a beautiful one...and a signature worthy scent. When you smell Reflection Man on someone, you think to yourself "I've smelled this shit somewhere.." will remind someone of Le Male, if they have smelled Le Male. But this is Le Male done right. Props to Jean Paul Gaultier, by the way, because here I am mentioning how a niche house got Le Male right ... (this is expected of a niche house)...but for a designer to even put out something as unique as Le Male in the first place? Now that's just noteworthy, so good for you Jean Paul did a good job! Although Le Male is a fine fragrance, it's got something missing...and leave it to a niche house to find that missing link..what it is Le Male "cologne" shall we say? A finer, lighter, version of the JPG classic. Reflection is a powdery, floriental that I like to call "Suave Juice." This is Man Swagger in a bottle man...I sense something far different from Le Male...yes there's something reminiscent of Le Male..but Reflection bases all its plays around the main player..Jasmine. A powdery jasmine with an airy woody finish. Sillage on this shit is enchanting...purely enchanting. In fact, this is so good you will want to put it on EVERYDAY...if you have the money, cop this as your signature. You won't be disappointed. I have half of my 5 mL decant left, and I use it on days when I know I will be around does it do you ask? Hahahaha...sigghhh....I am a straight guy and this fragrance was a lady and man killer!

12. Muscs Kublai Khan by Serge Lutens

 Walk around NYC all day and I guarantee you you will not smell anyone with a Serge Lutens on. I have yet to smell Chergui, Borneo, or Une Bois Vanille (the most popular Lutens fragrances) on anyone. In fact, lately I have been smelling Aventus on a lot in the Village. Don't know why...I mean it is an amazing fragrance but hmm interesting isolation of Aventus to the Village area of NYC. Anyhow, Muscs Kublai Khan, if applied appropriately in respective temperatures, can truly be your signature scent. Musk is a masculine, refined, clean, and versatile ingredient in perfume...just like vetiver and citruses. However, this is a very inviting Musc...not a sweet oriental like Musc Ravageur...but this is a spicy, incense based musk.If applied lightly, the aura it forms is breathtaking, and even in the summer it will be pleasing to anyone who has the privilege of taking a whiff of this scent. I absolutely love it!

13. Anvers by Ulrich Lange 

a very well crafted masculine scent by Ulrich Lange New York. This floral fragrance thrives on violets, sweetened by honey, but a citrusy freshness to it. Imagine potpourri formed by lime zest and a ton of flowers, and throw some sweet woods into the mix. The scent isn't too sweet, but the floral aspect is slightly toned down by the honey. I think this is a wonderful year-round scent, not many people have this or even look for it...try to find this on ebay as it is way cheaper than what you would pay for on luckyscent.

14. Rocky Mountain Wood by Dsquared2

speaking of florals, Rocky Mountain Wood is the definition of flowery goodness.  Violets and sauna wood, joined together in holy matrimony. When I wear this I am instantly taken to a cool, breezy, cabin, sitting on the porch cleaning sharpening my axe (because I'm a man like that)..while my lungs fill with the gorgeous air formed by mystique of the surrounding mountains, the beauty of the violets and lilies growing by my side, and a woodiness stemming from the cabin grounds. Majestic scent, my go to springtime, but PERFECT for a signature..believe me on this. When my father, who isn't too fond of colognes, sprayed this on once, it was his go to! He told me to leave my bottle at home so he can use it...this is coming from a guy who only had two "Holy Shit" reactions to fragrances...Rocky Mountain Wood and Musc Ravageur. Go figure.

15. Straight to Heaven by Kilian

What better way to end this with a Kilian? Now, MY personal signature used to be Sweet Redemption. That's just me though. From a universal perspective, I find no better signature from the Kilian line than this baby right here. A boozy wood fragrance, Straight to Heaven unleashes itself with an initial burst of rum and some sweet fruits. After about a while, imagine an elevator made of pure cedarwood, filled with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The rum note becomes a tad bit sweeter to tone down the boozy spicy feel. You're left with a gorgeous, sweet, boozy drydown that really makes me feel like I'm chillin' with Johnny Depp on a pirate ship. Man, just thinking about this is making me want to put some on. I shall. Hefty pricetag, but my recommendation for Kilian fragrances is to buy yourself a decant, go on amazon or ebay, and by the 1.7 fl oz refill bottle. Kilian at a cost, sans the beautiful box and bottle it comes with (Kilian has the BEST presentation of any fragrance house. Period).


Monday, April 30, 2012

Fragrance Review: Versace Blue Jeans

A sexy, masculine, powdery citrus fragrance with a touch of florals, Blue Jeans by Versace is a beautiful composition with the Italian designers DNA engrained all up in there. 
I love it!
This fragrance starts off with a powdery lemon/lime zest softly mingling with herbs and a very delicate woody base. It is not too sweet or cloying. Refreshing in the beginning and very unique!
If you could take lavender, rose, jasmine, and A LOT of sage, mix it with shaved zest from a bunch of freshly picked lemons and lime, and crumple some vanilla infused woods on top, and vaporize the concoction into a powder...then add some Johnson and Johnson baby powder to this mix, twist the cap, and sprinkle some all around you....Blue Jeans would be the result. This is extremely masculine and VERY Italian.
BJ doesn't get much action because......okay I just realized how that sounded.....allow me to rephrase...
Blue Jeans doesn't get much action in the fragrance community probably because of goes down in history as a "high school, teenie bopper" scent to many. It's on the same pedestal as Escada Magnetism, Curve by Liz Claiborne, and Acqua Di Gio......scents that used to roam the hallways of schools all across the country, providing wingman service to jocks and freckled boys in an effort to win their way into the hearts of cheerleaders and popular chicks to eventually lead to some BTB Soirees (BTB = Behind The Bleacher). Clearly, I wasn't the stud jock or the cute freckled kid.

Had Blue Jeans been a niche fragrance in this day, I think it would do extremely reviews galore would ensue. 

My only issues with this is projection. It sits EXTREMELY close to the skin and shirt. Normally fragrances that do poorly on the skin change their game entirely when laid down on clothes...not Blue Jeans. I just can't even seem to get whiffs of it myself, let alone anyone else. Any compliments from this are when I literally ask someone to bury their nose in my arms or chest (hmm..maybe this would have worked in high school)...then it's compliment after compliment.

Forever a part of staple regardless because it does wonders to my nose and brain cells...provides a refreshing, comfortable, uplifting experience. 

If you like powdery scents, refreshing scents that are still grounded by very soft, brittle woods, then this is no doubt, your shit! A must try for sure for any fragrance lover. This is an EXCELLENT transition fragrance to help one enter the world of scents. 

It is so good that I literally take a whiff of it from the cap almost everyday because it just has this unique, soft, floriental sillage, with sweet herbaceous undertones.  Get get enough of it!


If projection and sillage were not so poor, this would no doubt get an 8.5 from me.

Can't beat the price as well!!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fragrance Review and Exciting News: Ambre Narguile

Exciting news first:  Officially going to be a surgeon!!!! I am pretty excited as not only will my dreams come true, but I am also 1/7th on my way to becoming a plastic and reconstructive surgeon! And with this much needed excitement, I decided to celebrate this past weekend, in beautiful South Beach where I am currently located until April 6th. An epic weekend....bottles, rooftops, NFL superstars, a bunch of future doctors, and beautiful people all round enveloped by the salty breeze of the Atlantic and kissed by the sun. On a night at the Delano Hotel last night to conclude my buddy's short lived, but monumental, vacation, I decided to take advantage of the cool summer night by casting a spell around myself with the enchanting, Ambre Narguile.

Boy did this Mofo do damage. I warn thee...this will seem like hype as Ambre Narguile is one of my favorite compositions of all time. Please do not take this as fragrance hype...because in the end, this fragrance truly is powerful in ways name a few, this is not only an art piece, but a masterpiece, and quintessential representation of what a spicy oriental should be. This is a fragrance that will conjure up memories...and if no such memories exist to any individual, then that person will truly be overwhelmed by the depths of their imagination he or she is able to reach on the magic carpet that is, Ambre Narguile

On with the review...

Initial blast may be summed up in four words: a  Sweet, Spicy, Tobacco, Booze.

Let's break it down:

The Sweet: Honey..the vanilla tinged honey is done so well here, compliment every accord this fragrance has to offer. The sweetness is not only tolerable, but very transparent and airy and elegant. The apple notes are there..I believe this is more of an Apple Cider'ish note, rather than a apple warm apple pie would remind me of an extremely sweet but creamy feel...Ambre Narguile is far too transparent and light to be deemed as such.

The Spicy: Ginger, grilled indian cooking, we use these so often that I see how well Jean Claude Ellena, the mastermind behind Hermes fragrances (and many more)..was able to blend the spices in a way that it lingers...yes..lingers..the spices truly amplify the fact that the tobacco in hookahs, or narguiles (water pipes through which tobacco is smoked from in middle eastern countries...and party schools in the US) are crafted with spices and flavors...having smoked hookah in the past I can truly say that Ellena did a phenomenal job of capturing the actual scent of the tobacco as you unwrap it after taking it out of its colorful box (namely, Green Apple Tobacco).

Tobacco: The tobacco is well done here..extremely light and fragrant..not a dark tobacco as in a Tom Ford or Kilian Concoction...To me, this is the best tobacco on the market. I love it! It is a light but present tobacco and certainly gives a comfortable smell. Tobacco can be unappealing to many and I am not a fan of tobacco in any form (except for the tobacco in the dry down of the Original D&G Pour Homme, the one that fornicates with juniper in Versace The Dreamer). But Ambre Narguile has set a new standard for me, honestly, because the use of "shisha" type tobacco is something new to the game and exerts beauty and comfort. If all tobacco gave the sensation that Ambre Narguile then that's a crap load more Lung Cancer in the world! (but thank god only Hermes carries the recipe for this potion).

Booze: Ahh the underlying blast of booziness that remains throughout the entirety of Ambre Narguile's long and luscious life on some lucky skin (or garment)....I get a similar boozy vibe to Frapin 1270 but much lighter. For those who have not tried Frapin, this booziness can be described as very luxurious...imagine the taste of a very expensive sweet wine..

So, spread some resinous Amber and luxurious sweet wine in a pot.
Let this simmer. Throw spices into the mix.
Open up a box of tobacco while that mixes...ahh hell, why not, just throw in some of the tobacco into the pot!
Toss some fresh apples that were glazed in honey overnight.

Let this simmer....give it about 30 minutes.
Let the aroma overwhelm you.

You'll never want to leave.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fragrance Review: My Top Three Fragrances

So I have decided to do a little blog about my top three favorite fragrances of all time. These are fragrances that I just absolutely adore and would probably cut myself if they ever discontinued. Okay I'm exaggerating. I would probably hang myself instead...

Jokes aside..these are three fragrances that are perfect (in my opinion). Collectively, the three represent categories: 1. My go to scent (the one out of the three I would call my signature...and neither of the three, by the way, is Sweet Redemption by Kilian, which is my signature scent).  2. The fragrance I wear when I am tired of the scent that reflects category 1 but is beautiful and an everlasting attestation to why I love the art of smell.   3.  The fragrance I wear when I want to be different...unique...and mysterious...while still maintaining flawlessness in design.

And without further adieu...I present to you, my top three fragrances:

1. The Signature:   New Haarlem by Bond No. 9
Bond No. 9 truly outdid itself with this one. Composed by Maurice Roucel, NH is a sweet oriental brew revolving around coffee, sweetened with vanilla and tonka, made fresh by bergamot and lavendar, and grounded by woods and patchouli. This is a heavenly concoction. Those who like to wear fragrances for themselves will enjoy this because it is a heavenly smell. It smells a dessert. I do have a full review on this so I won't get into details, but the drydown is just glorious. The fragrance projects well, but starts to project even stronger as it dries down, which in my opinion, is perfection since the drydown is my favorite part (smells like a sweet, french vanilla cafe, with very faint coffee, but creamy and honeyed patchouli and tonka bean melange). I love it because it is airy, versatile, and long lasting. The sillage is gorgeous and is complimented nearly everytime I wear it (which is very often). I still wear this in the heat, with one or two light sprays, and catching whiffs of NH is heaven for my olfactory sins.

2.  The Signature Replacement:  Terre D'Hermes Pure Parfum by Hermes
Composed by in-house Hermes perfumer and all time great nose, Jean-Claude Ellena, Terre D'Hermes Pure Parfum takes the original EDT version one step up the ladder and a rocket ship even further. The earthiness of the original is stronger in this, but so is sweetness, and the ruggedness. The EDT mellows out in the citrus department over time, where as the EDP, the citrus becomes stronger as the hours pass. This is personification in a bottle...the sweetness represents a gentleman...the type to pull your chair out, hold your door, and tell you how ravishing you look even though all this is taking place pre-shower, pre-makeup, but immediately post-waking. The ruggedness reflects side B of this unassuming man who will handle business when need be. This is a man who will stop on his way to Graceland to take off his shirt and fix all four of a young lady's tires, to expect only a bottle of water in payment...but instead finds himself engaged in some guilt-free passion in the back of that newly grounded vehicle. He is not afraid to get dirty....if need be.

3. The Unique Scent: Ambre Narguile 
Yes it smells like apple...but not apple pie..nope. More like Apple Cider. But a very light, delicious, transparent and smokey apple cider...yet very intriguing. This is the fragrance I spray on when I want to wear something different, daring, and not reminiscent of your average "cologne." I wear this when I want to feel mysterious. I wear this when I go out, wearing a black v-neck, black jeans, black boots, and my hair pushed back. I also wear this when I want to feel comforted and cozy despite the chaos and debauchery around me in NYC. This is a fragrance that truly captures the smell of flavored shisha tobacco but done in a very sweet and tolerable fashion to eventually intoxicate any nose that should fall under its spell. This is a magical scent and very unisex. The dry down is a gorgeous olfactory trip that can reminds me of a bakery where the dominant aroma is that of an apple cinnamon tart (I barely get tobacco in the dry down). Truly unique, mystical, and has an enigmatic personality for any man who wears this. I think women who wear this are bewitching yet inviting, and seductive nonetheless.

So there you have it. My top three fragrance that I cannot live without. These are fragrances I will always come back to.  Even my signature, Sweet Redemption by Kilian, as much as I love this scent, I feel as if I do not have such a pious relationship with it as much as I do with the above mentioned.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fragrance Review: New Haarlem Revew (Bond No. 9)

 The only Bond No.9 worth paying full price for. There are other good ones like China Town and Brooklyn...but just good...not lavish.

Group: Sweet Oriental

Smells like: The pleasure one's mouth receives upon eating a sweet Turkish delight or Baklava, while immediately emulsifying the dessert with a coffee with light cream and sugar.

Rating: 9/10

This stuff is amazing. Forget about the deliciousness and the mouth watering aspect of this fragrance. There is so much complexity to this fragrance despite only having about 5 to 6 notes.

Only my man Maurice can do something like this. What Roucel has done here is take a simple note, Coffee, and turned it into a fragrance that evolves into the various stages of a wonderful time in New York City history: old school Harlem!

In the era the fragrance tries to depict...Harlem was a "New" Haarlem (that's how it was spelled back then with two a's)..and that's what the fragrance is portrays...the evolution of a wonderful part of Manhattan that was slowly becoming inspired by speakeasies that play Miles and Coltrane in the background...jazz clubs with a smokey airiness of coffee is it clashes with the sweet perfumes of the waitresses mingling with the woody colognes worn by cats in fedoras and suits and canes and tie bars...who, after a long night of snapping fingers and dancing and playing cards, would step out, woman in hand, letting all the aromas inside their beloved joint to succumb to what's left of the nature in Manhattan.

Coffee with Lavender is hard to picture...but throw in the sweet earthiness of Pathchouli and a light cedar base..and Roucel not only created the perfect combination of Coffee and florals, but so well blended that anyone who embarks on this trip is sure to be pleased.

New Haarlem is very sweet, but EXTREMELY tolerable...and ready?...waitt for it...YES..tolerable EVEN in the SUMMER (long as you go light on the trigger). Most will tell you that this is a cold weather scent...true, but I don't think it's exclusive to cooler moments. The reason is, New Haarlem is this phenomenal airiness to it..overtime the coffee mellows out, and the patchouli/lavendar/vanilla begins to rise - the gorgeous thing about this evolution is, in the cooler will say "Wow, this is perfect for the winter..what a cozy and warming scent but sweet enough to distract my senses."..During warmer moments, catching whiffs of this gorgeous scent one will think "wow...what a crisp, sweet, coffee'ish, airy scent."

Very versatile.

Longevity: 9+ hours (12+ on clothing)

Sillage: Mesmerizing scent trail. "I want to eat you alive.." type compliments to " can't stop sniffing you!" ...thank god I got all day ;-) I wore this in Miami once, yes, Miami...two sprays, one on each forearm, and catching whiffs of this was such a delight while walking along Ocean Drive, letting the breeze from the Atlantic carry this composition around me.

Projection: Not a MONSTER in the sense of Godzilla...but let's call it Bigfoot...will get the job done should one stumble upon it.


Will always be a part of my collection. Always.