Another in the field of high-quality, dirt-cheap fragrances.
Z-14 is a classic example of hybrid vigor. It is a thunderously harmonious chypre/oriental that shows its dual heritage more as Janus than Jekyll and Hyde. The spicy, ambery ground common to the two genres ties the top and bottom notes, and Z-14 has a church pipe-organ range of harmonies, rumbling lows to keen highs. While it doesn’t smell like Guerlain’s Heritage, Z-14 has a similar feel of a musical chord made up of dozens of notes rather than 4 or 5. (To be fair, if Z-14 plays a church organ, Heritage plays one sized for a cathedral.)
Z-14 starts with a bone-dry citrus/cinnamon/herbal quality. The herbal tone in the top notes feels like dried culinary herbs, as much dusty as savory. As the citrus and herbs recede a hint of wood, particularly cedar, comes to the fore. What’s left by drydown is arguably better than the pipe-organ opening. A harmonious albeit more compact, accord remains: wood, moss, amber. The lemon is gone. The herbs are gone. What’s left, a woody, sweet chypre? A dry oriental? Whatever you call it, it is simultaneously conventionally pretty and handsome. My box of Z-14 lists both oakmoss and treemoss. Maybe the vintage version, with its hybrid chypre/oriental heritage simply never held as large a dose of oakmoss as the grim, green, lovely chypres from the 70s and 80s we mourn. Z-14 smells to me today just as I remember it (though I didn’t wear it) in the 80s and 90s.