I haven’t been doing much with fragrances lately, and over the last couple of weeks I have developed sensitivity again to some of the common aroma chemicals, so I’ve avoided them entirely. Out of curiosity, though, I’ve taken a look now and then at what’s going on in the “community,” and thought I’m mention some things that might be noteworthy. First and foremost is how the prices keep going up, along with the amount of aroma chemicals being used (based upon my limited experiences and what I’m reading), especially in the designer exclusives and niche released (cheaper stuff has had this issue for at least 20 years). On the other hand, there are some great deals if you look around, and that includes some vintage “greats.”
Of course there are those who will say that you get what you pay for, but what does that mean when it comes to a smell, which is entirely subjective (in terms of personal preference, at least)? Rather than make the same points I’ve made in the past, though, I’ll mention some scents I’ve bought lately that I think are excellent deals (and that may still be available). One is Ice Red for men by Sakamichi. My review for that one is:
On Walmart’s site I found this: “Ice Red Eau de parfum is a men s cologne launched in 2014. The fragrance is a unique masculine blend with notes that include orchid, labdanum, benzoin, tonka beans, cinnamon, roasted sesame seeds, coumarin and orchid.” I get a slightly spiced, vanillic tonka. It’s not super sweet, nor does it come across as synthetic. If there’s lavender in here, it’s a very small amount – could be unisex, but there’s a little something to make it “masculine,” which I’d guess is some sort of wood aroma chemical. Interestingly, there’s a far drydown that’s a bit different, sort of like a sugary dessert item, but again, not sickeningly sweet. Though simple, they did a good job (is reasonably strong too!), and I can imagine using it for layering purposes as well.
Another is Kanon’s Nordic Elements – Earth. Parfumo.net has these notes for this scent:
|Top Notes||Green apple|
|Base Notes||Copaiba balsam|
And these notes are actually present! It’s not as heavy as I’d like, but spraying more helps. I also have the Water scent from this line and it’s not bad at all, but I can’t say whether it’s a good aquatic because I have limited experience with these.
If you are interested in vintage, there are one ounce bottles of One Man Show that are selling for reasonable prices. Mine has a short list of ingredients on the box, the volume is 85%, and the liquid is a yellow color. If you absolutely hate castoreum, though, you might want to avoid a blind buy on it, as that note is clearly present is not as strong as in scents like Dali Homme and the original Davidoff scent.
There’s also One Man Show Gold, which is not the natural-smelling scent the vintage original is. However, spraying into the air and walking through the mist (eyes closed, of course!) might result in a very nice olfactory experience. I was more pleased with Victory by Starter, though, as I prefer leather scents to the strong apple/geranium of OMS Gold. Here’s my review of Victory:
Though note lists often seem inaccurate, this seems correct. Spicebomb has the same list except with saffron and cinnamon too. Victory is a bit simpler, and I don’t get that sharpness or as much spice. I think Victory is also softer and smoother, so it could be a “legere” version of Spicebomb (I have only tried the early batches of it, so for all I know they could be very similar now). Since Victory cost me about $8 for 100 ml, new, it might be a great deal for someone on a tight budget and wants a less potent and sharp version of Spicebomb, though it seems to have less projection.
And speaking of prices, other than the vintage OMS, which was 1 ounce, the others were 100 ml bottles and all were under $10 total – Ice Red was around $4.50! There were others that might be more to your preference that were great deals and I have nothing bad to say about, such as the George Clooney scent (“Whatever It Takes”) and Police Frozen, and Roger and Gallet’s Open Black was a bit over $10 for 100 ml (and another nice one for those who want vintage without a big price tag), but I want to address the title of this post. I think the high-priced scents of today are for those who are wealthy and think that a high price is a “mark of quality” and for the “Holy Grail chasers,” who often buy decants.
The “glory days” of a dozen or so years ago are gone (when samples were often free and people would usually swap happily and include niche samples), and I haven’t bothered even trying to engineer a swap for a long time. Shipping prices are a lot higher now, but even worse is how most swappers only want a few specific scents and hardly have anything I am interested in (which of course is what will happen after one acquires a whole lot of bottles and samples). In some ways I’ve moved on as well, though if I can appreciate scents again I see no reason to avoid them, as I’ve got a great selection from which to choose. I just have come to value the time I used to devote to fragrance-related things differently. However, if I can think of something to contribute that is novel, I intend to keep writing blog posts here, though I doubt many new ones will be posted any time soon.