A Fabulous Carnation and Rose Concoction...
Vintage JHL opens with a whiff of aldehydes (nothing overpowering, I assure you) before quickly transitioning to a beautiful mildly cinnamon and all-spice laced carnation and rose combo, with maybe just a hint of bergamot thrown in for good measure. The spiced floral accord remains through the heart notes, now joined by jasmine support that sweetens the accord, but never "too sweet." The spiced carnation and rose finally recede as the primary base notes of sandalwood and patchouli emerge to sweeten the scent just a tad further as they take the fore, while the spiced floral tandem hangs around well in the background, at this point just barely detectable but crucial to the scent's success even in the base. Projection and longevity are both superb.
Vintage JHL is a truly outstanding scent in every way. The cinnamon spiced carnation and rose combo is absolutely captivating, and speaks of extreme class and sophistication. I view this as a perfect scent for dressing up in a fine suit and tie. The scent is sweet, but unlike so many others that go too far and become cloying; JHL goes right to the limit, but masterfully never crosses that line and remains very wearable and easily accepted. The projection and longevity here also need to be emphasized as this is a true powerhouse of a scent... As an aside, when I first put vintage JHL on, I thought it reminded me a bit like my beloved vintage Floris No. 89, and there are definitely some similarities between the two masculine floral scents to my nose, at least. That said, upon closer inspection, vintage JHL is smoother, more refined and sweeter than vintage No. 89 (No. 89 relies on rough dry vetiver support, while JHL turns to a smooth sweeter sandalwood and patchouli... and of course there is the carnation). I never thought I would say this as vintage No. 89 is very dear to me and is an absolute all-time favorite of mine, but I prefer vintage JHL to it by a small margin. In short, vintage JHL is one of the best scents I have sniffed to date and easily deserves its classic status. I'll give this outstanding juice a well-deserved 4.5+ out of 5 rating.
Edit: I have now bought a re-release bottle of JHL to compare against my vintage juice... I find the re-release a very competent one, but there are some differences. The vintage juice is smoother, richer and rose is much more prominent. The re-release definitely tilts much heavier to the carnation, it is also more powdery (although not overwhelmingly so, never fear). Longevity and potency are still just as superb as with the vintage juice. I prefer the vintage juice of the two and can't go back having experienced it first, but those starting afresh with JHL with the re-release are not giving up much, and you save a ton of cash. I give the re-release a still very strong 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5. Bravo Aramis for bringing this one back, and in such great shape!