“What is the meaning of this?”

Gentleman Eau de Parfum Givenchy for men

I remember people using the phrase, “what is the meaning of this?” when I watched some comedies as a child.  The idea was that a comical character was doing something outrageous.  The person saying the phrase was calling attention to the “unacceptable” behavior.  But lately, I often find myself asking this question, as people make claims that aren’t even internally consistent!  On a Basenotes.net earlier this year, a thread was started with this post:

…I’m quite surprised that my bottle of LADDM has a pretty weak performance considering all the reviews that speak of 12-24 hours longevity. I get the spicey opening and after not even 4 hours it is GONE! Does anyone else have similar issues with this fragrance?

http://www.basenotes.net/threads/461418-Tauer-L-air-du-desert-marocain-weak-performance

No, it’s not “gone,” unless this person bought a fake.  However, others started to make claims that are not related to this statement, such as to quote a reddit post, which is:

I contacted Andy Tauer directly and he replied:

‘It has not been reformulated. Nor has its concentration changed. People compare old batches stored for a long time, matured, with newer batches.’

So there you have it from the man!

https://www.reddit.co m/r/fragrance/comments/adibny/andy_tauer_lair_du_desert_marocain_batch_variation/

First, this could be fake, something the person just made up for whatever reason, but let’s assume that this is what Andy Tauer believes, hypothetically.  A batch variation is not going to affect longevity is a significant way, though a reformulation certainly could.  Speak of reformulations, someone posted this in that BN thread:

…I do wonder if all this talk of reformulation is our noses simply adjusting to newer interpretations of scents that we already know such as LADDM and ACDD.

Well, wonder no more!

Reformulations of classic fragrances happen all the time, and because of industry secrecy, consumers simply discover on their own that the new bottle of their favorite perfume smells different. Sometimes the reformulations are by necessity. For example, birch tar was banned by IFRA (The International Fragrance Association), so Guerlain had to eliminate it from their formula for Shalimar. Perfumes are often reformulated to cut costs, using less expensive ingredients than in the original. In other cases, some perfumes are tweaked to conform to prevailing styles.

Whatever the case, Givaudan perfumer Jean Guichard recently made a confession that the perfume industry has never owned up to before: Perfumes do in fact get reformulated. He confirmed what every perfume lover who has ever picked up a new bottle of an old favorite and failed to recognize it already knows. “Consumers know their perfume better than any expert,” Guichard said. “We say nothing to consumers, but they notice when their fragrance has been changed.”

From the book, “Scent & Subversion” by Barbara Herman.

So, what is the meaning of talking about batch variations in this context?  Clearly, there is a desire to argue a position for a different issue.  And another person who posted to that BN thread made this clear:

So, the whole “let it sit and it will get stronger,” argument must have some truth to it after all. And this is not only coming from a perfumer, but from a trained chemist.

Well, if you are a perfumer and a “trained” chemist, you should be able to explain to us exactly how one of these concoctions can get a lot stronger yet smell the same!  That would mean that more of the same molecules would have been created, a kind of chemical version of “spontaneous generation.”  And one would think that a professional chemist could have a GC/MS study conducted to show a “before and after,” in terms of the dominant (or some of the dominant) aroma chemicals.  I am willing to pay for such a study, but only if I am wrong.  If I am correct, then I expect someone (like the people who made the posts above) to pay.  I have no expectations that these people would take me up on my offer and “put their money where their mouths are,” but some might even say, “well I don’t care what the study says, I know what I am smelling.”  No, you know what you are perceiving, but you do not know what aroma chemicals are involved.  You are mistaking perception for physical reality and don’t seem to care about the “laws of nature!”

I would like Tauer to address this issue on his web site, and why not include a statement on the fragrances or boxes?  Tell us when the “best if used by” time is!  What does he mean by “maturation?”  On the Frederic Malle site, as I’ve quoted before, it is stated that maceration, for example, is only applicable for large batches and is hardly ever employed any longer (mostly gone by the 1980s), so it is crucial for Tauer to tell us if maturation means maceration, or something else.  Generally, a fragrance does not “mature” but gets worse, in terms of being less and less as the perfumer intended.  Some of us may not mind (such as myself, since it’s more an issue for certain top notes and I’m not that concerned with these kinds of fleeting notes).  My guess is that whomever answered the email, if it was real, didn’t want to say anything too committal but also did not want to tell the person that his or her notion was totally wrong.

And I’ll mention another example here, which involves Gentleman Givenchy Parfum.  This 2018 release is a simple scent, with official notes of “black pepper, lavender, orris, patchouli and black vanilla.”  Clearly, it is Givenchy’s take on Dior Homme/Dior Homme Intense type scents (and a whole bunch of Fragrantica reviewers point this out), but some reviews say things like:

Balsamic lavender
Performance is good
There is absolutely no similarity with DHI

What is the meaning of that?  If it’s not close to DHI then what is it?  Close to Cool Water?  Totally unique?  My point here is that most reviewers see that there is quite a bit of similarity but it’s not a “clone.”  To say there is “absolutely no similarity” is simply ridiculous, with clear notes of iris, lavender, and something sweet/vanillic/ambery.  Moreover, they both have a “high end designer” type composition.  If you say there’s nothing in common, you are actually misleading people, so I wonder why.  Is it that you think DHI is so far “superior,”‘ for some reason, that you need to “defend” it.  Or do you possess a “broken nose,” as many like to say these days?  Yes, the Givenchy is more casual and a bit different (I happen to prefer it), but when you make a claim like he did, what are you trying to say?  That Chanel No. 5 is as close to DHI as this Givenchy is?  Let me know if  you have any idea what he was trying to say by leaving a comment.

 

 

 

 

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A “super-cheapo” gem that has gotten no attention.

Eau De Royal Secret Five Star Fragrance EDT Spray Women 3.4 oz

I saw this one on sale a while back at a very low price, hesitated, and someone else bought it, but a few weeks ago I had another opportunity and took it.  Before making the purchase, I did some research, but the reviews were not promising, for example (from Amazon):

This does NOT have the Royal Secret fragrance that my mother has used for many years. She still has a small quantity left in another bottle – the fragrance doesn’t begin to compare and it’s a different color. Where oh where is the wonderful Royal Secret??

However, for the most part the comparison seemed to be with the original Royal Secret (by Germaine Monteil), which is a real “old school” oriental (I have some of that one in EdC formulation and I don’t “need” more, especially at current prices).  Also, the fact that it is made by Five Star Fragrance was a concern, not that they are a terrible company but that IMO it’s “hit or miss.”  These are the fragrances that are marketed under their name (apparently they were bought out by Perfumania):

https://perfumaniaholdings.com/fragrance-brands/parlux-five-star-fragrance

What I really wanted a scent that was consistent with the note pyramid for EdRS, which is:

Pink pepper, Italian bergamot, Mandarin, Blackcurrant, Night-blooming jasmine, Orange blossom, Lily-of-the-valley, Vanilla absolute, Indonesian patchouli, Tonka bean absolute, Frankincense, Golden amber, Tobacco, Cocoa, Musk.

Of course, it was possible that some notes (that I’m not a fan of) would be too strong, but I thought it was a chance worth taking at a very low price.  Fortunately, the scent is excellent, sort of a “feminine” TF Tobacco Vanille!  Instead of the fruit and spice of TV, EdRS has a clear jasmine to go along with the tobacco, amber, etc.  The cocoa note is present, though overall this does not have the edible sweetness one might associate with outright gourmand fragrances.  Moreover, for men who don’t mind a bit of jasmine, this is worthy of consideration if you like TV type fragrances.  Indeed, EdRS is less “in your face” than TV, and so one doesn’t need to really be in the mood for a tobacco or gourmand-ish scent, as I find to be the case with TV.

Another idea is to layer this scent with one that is complimentary, such as the Ungaro Oud fragrance, which is devoid of florals and tobacco.  Once you start to really understand these concoctions, it’s a lot easier to figure out how to make them work for your particular preferences.  The only “downside” is that you may sacrifice a day if your layering combination is mediocre or weird, but not especially pleasant,, as does occur from time to time.  However, when I find that the first scent just petered out and not much remains other than a generic or common base, that’s the time to try another fragrance that may complement it, in my experience.  In any case, EdRS could have been marketed by a niche company – I think the formula should have been tweaked a bit, though.  The jasmine could have been weakened and the tobacco and cocoa could have been strengthened, and then it would be a unisex niche scent!  Yet once you already own a scent like that, I find I’d rather have something a little different, and that’s where EdRS comes into play!

By contrast, what does niche have to offer?  Coincidentally, while writing this I took a break and noticed a Clive Christian scent, L for Men, for $100 (50 ml, nearly full), so I looked up the reviews.  One of those at Fragrantica is:

I… own and wear mostly CC fragrances. L is masculine and has a distinctive rich smell. CC fragrances are made with the finest ingredients so you only need 1 or 2 sprays. The notes on the dry down is green and woodsy. L is for the mature and confident individual.

First, a “distinctive rich smell” is culture-bound.  The “party boys” will likely say you smell like an “old man” if you wear a scent like L, I’d guess.  This is obvious, but what about “finest ingredients?”  How would we know?  The company would need to be totally transparent to know this for sure, including allowing anyone who wishes to visit their facilities without notice.  Even worse, expensive ingredients (I won’t say “finest” because that notion requires definition) aren’t necessarily especially strong!  It depends, and can vary significantly, especially for some ingredients (presumably natural?)_that are used for top notes.  Also, what does “green and woody” mean?  I see that quite often, but it doesn’t really help me – if you don’t know what galbanum is, for example, how can I take you seriously when you say “green?”  What about ivy or violet leaf?  In some cases a few people seem to think that cypress is green.  So, it’s one thing to get a green impression, but it’s another thing to be unable to detect major notes yet to say that a scent possesses the finest ingredients know to humankind!  Fortunately, there are better ones (for my purposes), such as:

…Opens with undeniable petitgrain and a musty body odor lemon vetiver combo which to a large degree, I found it to be alluring. Thanks to a volley of firs, the composition “greens up” a bit as a Irish Spring Soap Bar gone niche. Now I’m getting to the part of the fragrance that’s more comfortable and not as green. In the base, the prominent note is arguably the musk. At this moment, gone are the body odor vibe, but this rides into the sunset as a woody, soapy, green frag with sweet musky nuances.

Others say that it becomes a rose/oud “masculine,” while others say vetiver is strong, and I certainly don’t need more fragrances of that type, so I wouldn’t blind buy it, due to the price and my preferences.  But I think the key point here is that just like anything else, at least for me, “quality ingredients” can get boring if the composition is not compelling.  Otherwise, people can (and some do) just buy essential oils, which can be very inexpensive.  Then they dilute to safe/preferable levels, possibly adding two or three together.  This is why a scent like EdRS is so appealing to me – it’s a unique, enjoyable composition that does shout “chemical nightmare” and cost very little.  I’ve also probably got enough (100 ml) to last me the rest of my life!

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Is the “niche sampler” back?

Heat Wild Orchid Beyonce for women

No, the picture is not of a niche bottle but of a “celebuscent,” but I’ll get back to it below.  To begin this post, I want to mention that I don’t read reviews at Basenotes.net nearly as much as I used to, usually because there are more at Fragrantica.com and I find those to be more “down to earth.”  Also, I can usually tell what kind of hobbyist/aficionado the person is, whereas the Basenotes crowd tends to be more difficult to decipher.  For example, one reviewer there writes long and thoughtful reviews, yet his preferences are very different than mine, and he seems to be much more tolerant of certain aroma chemicals than I am.  So, it’s easy to be misled by such reviews, whereas the “dis ding stinks” type of review is easier to dismiss or understand (such as if the scent is animalic).

What I’ve noticed on the few occasions in recent months that I clicked on the Reviews tab at Basenotes is that so many are of obscure niche fragrances.  In the “old days” of a decade or so ago, they were often reviewing the same fragrances, and there weren’t too many that were discussed all that much.  One was L’Air du Desert Marocain, of course, but nowadays not only have never heard of the fragrance, but I also have never heard of the company!  It’s very easy not to be interested in a fragrance that is very expensive when there are so many others that fit the same bill, so to speak.  Of course, I’ve sampled a whole lot of fragrances in the last ten years (I got serious in late 2007, which I started reading Basenotes and fragrance blogs), but back then there weren’t that many that seemed special and it was a lot easier to obtain samples, often for free or in a swap (and shipping costs were lower back then too – the USPS 2 pounds for $2.90 deal was great!).

I find myself thinking, “nah, I already have something that sounds close enough,” or “that’s probably a chemical mess,” or “that sounds like a ham-fisted attempt to reinvent the vintage wheel,” on the rare occasion that I read about one of the new, expensive niche fragrances that I am not likely to own (another factor being how swapping has dried up in recent years).  So, I have largely confined myself to buying lots at very good prices or taking advantage of an occasional deal from the major online discounters.  One example of the latter is Beyonce’s Heat Wild Orchid, which I actually sampled at a Walmart and though was okay, but hardly worth pursuing.  The notes for this 2010 release (from Fragrantica) are:

…opens with a fruity trio of pomegranate, coconut water and boysenberry. A bold floral bouquet of butterfly orchid, blooming magnolia and honeysuckle is the heart. Blonde woods, skin musk and amber contribute to the overall impression of a sensual perfume.

When I saw a super deal on a 100 ml bottle, I was hesitant, but figured I could give it as a gift if I didn’t think it was worth keeping.  It doesn’t smell much like the notes to me, which in this case was a great surprise!  The first time I sprayed it on, at Walmart, it had an almost chocolate/vanilla quality, but then the next time I recognized quite a bit of tonka, and not much in the way of florals.  Over time, a smoky type quality emerged, which usually irritates me, but here it was mild enough, and works great, providing me something that usually doesn’t work in much more expensive scents.  There’s also a hint of an almost minty quality that keeps things interesting.  I mention this because it seems like the “fragrance community” is going in two entirely different different directions, and it reminds me of how more than a few people I know will only do food shopping at the “better” stores or what we used to call “health food stores” 25-30 years ago (an example is Whole Foods Market).  They spend a whole lot more on food than I do (I get most of my food from Walmart and local dollar stores).

Speaking of which, when I was last in a dollar store, I bought an EAD fragrance called Divulge, which is “inspired by” CK’s Reveal for Him.  I had opportunities to acquire Reveal at a reasonable price, but I found at least a few CK scents to be too “chemical” for my tastes and decided against.  Dollar store versions, though, tend go go lighter on some aroma chemicals, and indeed that was the case here.  I really enjoyed Divulge and certainly would have paid a bit more for the 75 ml bottle.  What I smell seems consistent with the reviews I’ve read of Reveal, and it’s certainly unique in terms of my experience.  However, an effect it had on me was to plant the notion in my mind, “you just can’t spend much money on these concoctions any more – it’s just ridiculous!  The dollar store companies are too good.”  Of course, I already have plenty to keep me occupied the rest of my life, but that was the case years ago too, when I still found myself tempted to blind buy something that turned out to be a bad decision, but curiosity got the best of me.

Those days seem to be gone for me.  Sure, if the deal is ridiculously good I’ll throw a few dollars at a bottle, but overall I think of myself as going in the opposite direction of the “niche samplers.”  What are they seeking?  Yes, unique compositions will continue to be released, but then the question becomes, “are you ever going to enjoy what you have or are you going to continue to chase after pots of gold at the ends of rainbows?”  I can imagine some people buying a huge amount of samples and hardly ever buying a bottle – they are likely those who claim to be seeking “art” in fragrances, but of course this is a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction.  One issue seems to be a lack of patience, meaning that when one of these people hears about a “special” new release, there is a desire to try it within a month or less.  But what I find myself a lot more interested in lately is wearing fragrances that I have neglected for a while, to see what my perceptions of it are like after such a hiatus.  Often, it seems like a very different fragrance!  This supplies me with the novelty factor that I’d guess is a driving force for the niche samplers, and it allowed me to appreciate “super cheapos” like Heat Wild Orchid.

 

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Is a newbie “spontaneous fragrance modification” myth very common these days?

Image result for molecules

First, I’ll mention what led to my thought about a possible myth, which began with a review I posted on the Yatagan/Caron page on Fragrantica.com

I obtained a recent formulation (batch 402114), and it definitely is different from my 2010 bottle. The base is weaker and overall it seems simpler. However, that does make it more wearable for “modern sensibilities,” as they say. In this way it reminds me of my recent formulation of Kouros (as compared to vintage Kouros). It’s certainly still Yatagan (of perhaps 10 years ago), with that celery quality (which is not present in “deep vintage”), but it’s clearly less “macho.” The major “problem” for me is that I prefer deep vintage and so there’s no good reason for me to wear this.

Another reviewer, in 2012, said this about it:

…And by the way the reformulation is still quite strong and just as good, and this scent could easily become somebodies signature scent.

I respect this point of view, and my 2010 Yatagan bottle might be perceived as “better”‘ by a vast majority of people who compare it to “deep vintage,” which is fine with me.  There is nothing “bad” about the 2010 formulation, and I’m glad Caron didn’t try to “modernize” it.  The March, 2014 formulation (batch code 402114), however, does strike me as an attempt to save some money, though without tinkering too much with the composition (such as occurred with the huge cinnamon note in “modern” Z-14).  For me, deep vintage is great, whereas 2010 is unbalanced and therefore unwearable, with a bit of tweaking to the formula too.  In any case, not long after I posted that review, this one appeared:

@Bigsly: the difference of smell between a current bottle and an old one is not due to formulation differences, but to the fact that the old bottle has oxidized slightly, allowing the fragrance to develop and “open”.
If you smell your current bottle compared to one open since 10 or 20 years, it’s no surprise that the smell is slightly different, but nothing related to hypothetical reformulations. (a different batch doesn’t mean they changed anything in the formula, although here it may be possible in regard to oakmoss, because of the new 2014 IFRA regulations- but it’s not automatic).

After reading this, I added the following to my review:

Note that I disagree with Andy the Frenchy’s statement above this review and in fact consulted a fragrance chemist, who has this to say:

“This question brings up Perfumery 101 lessons about the nature of chemical composition and how smell works. At it’s very core, perfumery is about volatility, or the rate in which things evaporate. When sealed in an airtight container with compounds that extend shelf life (and inert gases are always used to make sure it it stays fresh) you’re going to get almost zero change in chemicals involved.”

Oxidation makes such concoctions smell worse not better, and can lead to skin rashes, as this abstract makes clear:

“Terpenes are widely used fragrance compounds in fine fragrances, but also in domestic and occupational products. Terpenes oxidize easily due to autoxidation on air exposure. Previous studies have shown that limonene, linalool and caryophyllene are not allergenic themselves but readily form allergenic products on air-exposure…”

The source is Contact Dermatitis. 2005 Jun;52(6):320-8.

Limonene and linalool are among the most common ingredients, so anyone who wants their fragrance oxidized has no idea what they are talking about, IMO, but perceptions can be rather odd. For example, there was a shipwreck found a few years back – it was over 100 years old! There were two perfume splash bottles in it. Non-perfumers questioned thought it smelled fine but the perfumers said it was clearly “spoiled.” Not many years ago, when I said that I had never encountered a vintage bottle that had a “spoiled” drydown, at least one blogger and a perfumer (who had an obvious conflict of interest) disagreed. If the scent has volatile top notes, especially citrus, those might be “lost” over the years, but the problem for those who claim that their fragrances got considerably stronger or the smell got better don’t seem to realize that it would mean more of the same molecules were created in that sealed bottle or new molecules were created that smelled better, which is something fragrance chemists and perfumers would already know and incorporate into their compositions! Now if you think you “reinvented the wheel” then go ahead and try to demonstrate it scientifically so that you can be the next Einstein. Today’s fragrances are nearly all or entirely synthetic, so for anything that isn’t special (and really expensive), the only change will be for the worse. Of course, to save money sometimes the formula is cheapened, as people like Luca Turin have pointed out a long time ago. In any case, you can do your own research and decide for yourself.

Then a few days later, this review appeared:

This is not a forum about perfume composition, it’s a series of reviews about Yatagan, but I’d like to address a couple of points.
– Old bottles of fragrance will undergo a process of oxidization once they are used, so Andy the Frenchy’s comment as posted is likely to be accurate in the majority of situations (assuming the majority of vintage bottles on the market have been used at least once.)
– Oxidization and its effect on odour is hardly limited to whether some terpenes become catalyzed! And…. Just because oxidization results in a perfume material become a potential irritant hardly means that it does not smell good (or even better) for it. Plenty of wonderful materials are potential irritants, as anyone can find out by googling most of the ingredients on the back of any box of perfume (IFRA regulated or not). Time to reread Paracelsus on that one.

Anyway, I post too much about things I like but now I feel guilty for not respecting the purpose of this space so I will say (about Yatagan) –

Certain fragrances seem to ‘open up’ once opened, oxidized and aged a little. Speaking anecdotally (I’m no chemist), I’d say that with some bottles I have owned, aging and intermittent usage over several months helps to produce the ‘fuller’, ’rounder’ and ‘more natural’ experience many people look for from a composition like Yatagan… If your bottle feels a bit thin, try shelving it for a little while (:

Putting aside this person’s lack of understanding of the term “composition” in this context, it seems to me that something quite odd has taken hold in the “online fragrance community,” perhaps especially among “newbies, and perhaps mostly due to claims made by the major Youtube reviewers.  That is, many seem to think that there is no such thing as a reformulation, but rather that molecules in a sealed spray bottle interact significantly with air even after just a few sprays and the composition is magically transformed into something much better or much stronger.  Fortunately there is a test to determine this, though unfortunately, it’s expensive (for us non-1% people).  However, if you want to make this kind of incredible claim, perhaps you should be willing to “put your money where your mouth is.”

In this situation, that would mean the claimant is willing to pay for a GC/MS study done by a competent technician, if that person cannot detect any significant change in either the number of molecules or the “spikes” that denote the strongest aroma chemicals on the resulting graph.  I certainly would pay if I bought a new fragrance (100 ml) from a major company (in a sealed spray bottle), had the GC/MS study done, then stored it properly for a couple months and used a quarter ounce of it, then had another GC/MS study done and the technician found that the concoction had become much stronger or had changed and smelled much different (yet had not “spoiled”).  If you are not an expert, you should either do some research and/or try to consult one, before making claims that suggest something that would violate the “laws of nature!”

Interestingly, one doesn’t hear much about all the skin rashes one would expect if these extraordinary claims were true.  One of the mysteries of chemistry is that two molecules might be very similar yet have different scents, no scent, or other properties that are quite distinct.  Or two molecules can be structured very differently yet smell quite similar.  However, this is a major area studied by people who become professional perfumers!  If what is being claimed by these apparent newbies were true, fragrance chemists and professional perfumers would know this and they would incorporate these properties into the final product.  They would certainly let the person or company employing them know that there was a simple and inexpensive procedure (that only took a few weeks or so) that could make the finished product much stronger or smell much better.  But of course this is something that would likely have become well known long ago, perhaps in the nineteenth century!

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Is there an Error to Eros?

Eros Versace for men

I recently acquired an official spray sample of of this 2012 scent.  I wore it twice, the first being just a half spray to the lower leg.  I used my hand to waft it up to my nose, and thought it smelled quite good, though not especially complex or special.  Then I wore it again with two sprays to the chest, but this was not a pleasant experience at all.  I then wrote up my Fragrantica.com review, which is:

I can understand the appeal, but for me, this is a “poster child” fragrance for that “sticky/synthetic” quality I do not find pleasant. Perhaps more naturals would have made it work for me. As it is, I would rather wear some Jacques Bogart scents that are also on the synthetic side of things. The Parfumo site has this note “pyramid:”

Mint leaf, Italian lemon, Green apple.
Venezuelan tonka bean, Ambroxan, Geranium.
Madagascan vanilla, Atlas cedar, Virginia cedar, Vetiver, Oakmoss.

It’s an interesting question why some aroma chemicals seem easier to “hide” in a composition and in the case of scents like Eros, is the idea not to try and mask those molecules, especially ambroxan, but to go ahead and do product testing to see if the target demographic is actually attracted to the “chemical overload.  I’d guess that was the case for Cool Water for Men, with its hefty dose of dihydromyrcenol, and I certainly would admit that in some cases I can enjoy compositions where it’s easy to detect an aroma chemical that doesn’t smell “natural.”  Of course, doing so can create “abstract” compositions, which at the very least avoids the possibility of someone saying that you just smell like a dollar store bottle of imitation vanilla.

The target demographic for Eros seems to be the young, “party” crowd, which one Fragrantica reviewer points out:

Sweet club banger, like a fougere Joop, if I wore this in the late 90s when I started clubbing it would have had the same effect.
Ladies like sweet, bold stuff like this, it’s the male equivalent of what they would wear.
I’m too old for this shit.

However, one thing I noticed while sitting in a store near the exit for more than a few minutes, with dozens of people walking by, and that is the impression such scents can make on those nearby.  Often, we hear the phrase, “cologne guy,” and a few of them walked by, yet it wasn’t only the fragrance that made an olfactory impression, though of course it’s possible that I have a more “sensitive” nose than most people due to how much study I’ve devoted to these concoctions since late 2007.  In any case, these guys smelled like ambroxan and a pork and garlic dish – it was rather nauseating.  Now it may be that most Americans don’t smell that unappealing quality (since they eat typical American diets whereas I’m a vegetarian), and it’s also possible that these guys didn’t care about how they smelled going to a utilitarian store, but I do wonder whether they smell that same way when they go to night clubs and parties.

NOTE:  If I didn’t have so many fragrances already, I might buy a “clone” of Eros, such as Dionysus by Dorall Collection because I’ve found, at least with this company’s scents, the compositions tend to be a bit simpler, but also sometimes don’t use as much of the “offending” aroma chemical, so in this case I’d guess that Dionysus contains less ambroxan than Eros.  However, even if that’s the case here, I doubt that would mean it was $10 or so well spent, because the other notes are not ones that do much for me, unlike say CK’s Shock for Him, which contains a tobacco note.

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Why is it so difficult to get information about some releases these days?

Essence de Bois Precieux Cigar for men

It’s 2019, not 1999, so it’s strange to see a line of fragrances that doesn’t appear to be supported by the corporate web site.  I am referring to what appears to be the Remy Latour “niche” line.  The fragrances are in long, thin cylinder bottles made from brushed metal.  As you might expect, they tend to fall over easily, but otherwise the presentation is considerably better than you would expect from today’s Remy Latour releases.  Here is their web page for “masculines:”

https://www.shop-parour.com/fr/28-homme

Note that the “parent company” is Parour, which also markets Lomani, Giorgio Valenti, and other “cheapos.”  The bottles are 75 ml sprays, and there is a plastic wrap around the cylindrical container that houses it (there’s a brochure in there too).  I saw some very good prices on a couple of these and purchased two, Essence de Bois Pecieux and Essence de Cachemire.  The former’s notes are listed as (from Fragrantica.com):

…saffron, oregano, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and incense; middle notes are papyrus and cashmere wood; base notes are sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, bourbon vanilla, ambergris and musk.

and for the latter:

…bergamot, rhubarb, watermelon and lotus; middle notes are sage, white rose, cashmere wood, sea water and iris; base notes are oakmoss, ambergris, tonka bean and musk.

EdBP reminds me of mostly of Perry Ellis Oud: Black Vanilla Absolute and Rich, Warm, Addictive by Zara, perhaps a touch more of the former.  It’s not super strong (though it’s certainly sweet) and it doesn’t have much in the way of note clarity, depth, or complexity, despite the long list of “dark” notes.  It’s pleasant and at least nearly unisex, but if you’ve already got something along these lines, I would not advise spending a King’s ransom on it.  Some might find it cloying as well.  And because it does have a touch of a tobacco-like quality, some might reference Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille when discussing it, but that’s the problem, that is, I have only seen one bottle for sale in the USA, and I now own it!  I’m guessing these were meant for another market, but who knows?  It’s a bit frustrating – what reason could there be for this in the “internet age?”

EdC is a Fahrenheit type of fragrance, but without the heavy gasoline/petrol, though with an aquatic note added.  It’s fairly strong and lasts well, so again, at a low price I could see those who enjoy Fahrenheit (or thinking they would if it could be “modernized”) wanting to own a bottle of this one.  I would consider wearing it in warm weather, but sitting in one place as it continually wafts up directly into one’s nose may not be a great idea – it has a bit of a note clash to me.  There seem to be at least seven other releases of this type under the Remy Latour name, five of which marketed to women.  Fragrantica has them listed as 2014 releases, so one has to wonder why there is so little information about them by now.  At one time, when I didn’t see any for sale, I thought they might be testing the market or had planned to release them but some problem delayed or prevented it.  However, it is clear that they are real, and one has to question what Parour was doing – why not create a short Youtube video about the line, for example?  If anyone knows more about this line, please comment and let us know!

 

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McGregor Cologne by Faberge – why do some fragrances “fly under the radar?”

McGregor Brut Parfums Prestige for men

If you have not noticed, the prices on some vintage and discontinued fragrances have risen to dizzying heights on ebay.  And I know it’s not nonsense because I have made a few of those sales in the last couple of months!  I was curious and figured, why not try and see what happens?  How much are Candies for Men, Phoenix by Keith Urban, Kirra by Pacsun, Blue Sugar, or V Pour Homme by Valentino, as examples, “really” worth?  Then there are ones such as Catalyst for Men, which had been selling for next to nothing for a long time – why did the prices suddenly rise?  It could be something like Youtube hype, but whatever the case may be, at least a lot of these sales are real because I listed a bunch of these types of fragrances for sale, starting at “high” prices, and made more than a few sales so far.  I also get offers; in one case the person wanted to pay around $25, and I tried to explain to him/her that I was holding out for more because from what had recently sold, I should be able to get closer to $100, which I did less than a week later!

I’ve noticed that people asking me about selling to them or swapping with them on Basenotes and Fragrantica often talk in terms of their “collections” these days, rather than something they are going to wear on a regular basis – that’s a huge difference than ten years ago, when I can’t remember one person talking about “collecting” fragrance bottles (other than a few who talked about antique ones that were empty).  And once a collectibles market gets established, it can be “off to the races” with prices.  I find it odd that some of those who really appreciate these olfactory concoctions would think that some collectibles markets are acceptable but one for fragrances is not.  As things stand, if you really want Patou Pour Homme, Egoiste Cologne Concentree, or even Kirra, you have to buy them and nothing else.  Yes, you might be able to get something close, but as I’ve found with many “super cheapo” recommendations I’ve made over the years, most people either don’t believe it or, for whatever reason, must have the “real thing.”  And then there are the speculators…

But then we come upon the example of McGregor Cologne, which I remember seeing years ago selling for around $12 or so, for 50 ml or more.  The notes for this early 1980s release are:

Top notes are lime and sage; middle notes are incense, anise and coconut milk; base notes are patchouli and vetiver.

Because I thought it was likely “drug store dreck,” I didn’t give it a second thought.  Nobody talked about it and it was by the company that released Brut (at that time I thought of Brut as a great example of the “low end,” though now I have some vintage Brut 33 can wear it occasionally – an interesting, natural-smelling, floral fougere).  Moreover, the note list suggested a possible irritating clash, in terms of my preferences (and I generally find a strong lime note to dominate compositions).  When I changed my mind and decided to purchase a spray bottle, not long ago, there were still hardly any reviews of it, and those left quite a bit to be desired, in terms of what I look for in a review.  The “best” contained this statement about what the scent is actually like (from Fragrantica):

…there really is a subtlety to this scent for which the knowledge that you’re smelling an early 80s release by Faberge in no way prepares you: the lime and sage notes dominate, but in harmony with a restrained patchouli darting in and out over top of a steady bass line of vetiver. Elsewhere, I’ve seen McGregor referred to as “harsh” but that’s the name and the company getting in the way of the scent: this isn’t Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting sequel (Begbie about to head butt), it’s the James Bond of Sean Connery in grey flannel, eyebrow cocked.

I did not get much patchouli nor anise, and while there was something sweetening it up a bit, it didn’t register as coconut milk to me (and I used to drink that once in a while).  The lime was obvious, though, and lasted a long time, sort of tied to the dry herbal element of sage.  Playing off that duo was the incense and vetiver, creating a slightly textured quality that’s very nice and lasts a long time.  It’s smooth yet distinct.  Projection was moderate after the first hour or two, but the overall strength is great for a cologne.  While wearing it I was thinking that this could pass for a 1980s Creed, such as Bois du Portugal, which is also simple revolving around lavender and amber.  I certainly think I’ll wear McGregor more than BdP, because the composition is rather unique.  And it’s fun to think, “this is niche-like, though better than today’s niche, and cost about how much a couple people would spend on a frugal meal at McDonald’s!”  If you are a “blind buyer,” there’s little reason not to try this one, so long as you don’t hate lime or actually are seeking a fragrance with powerful synthetics (such as the proverbial “party scent”).

 

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