ApiciusApicius' Perfume Reviews

1 - 5 of 220
Apicius 1 year ago 6
9
Scent
8
Longevity
7
Sillage
9
Bottle

They can if they want to!
Whenever Guerlain launches a new fragrance for the mass market, the outcry at the afficionados is big. Firstly, no bearer of this name is responsible because there is no Guerlain left in the company. And secondly, it has little to nothing in common with the great classics of the past. Especially the house perfumer Thierry Wasser is regularly scolded because he does some things differently.

Ah, where are the times!

We know the stories about the Guerlinade, the magical note that once distinguished this house and which was based on a confident handling of the vanilla note. Remember - there is still supposed to be a supplier in France who produces vanillin exclusively for Guerlain according to the old production method. Its smoky impurities should only make the scents more alive.

With its powerful, oriental note, the Eau de Toilette, on the other hand, was inspired by the scent habits of a modern, rather young audience. Take a look at the embarrassing advertising video - the cool guy, surrounded by women. Marketing has its sights on the pimply youngster, not the noble dude.

But who really buys the perfumes of this brand? It makes me wonder why L'Homme Idéal Eau de Parfum, being the first flanker to follow up the original, so much cites the house's great past.

Here we have it, the vanilla - clearly present and skillfully staged! The oriental woody note of the original has been dimmed down with all its loud statements of cherry, almond and marzipan. The beauty of a Guerlain vanilla always reveals itself in dialogue with its surroundings, as here too.

For the first time I notice the leather note, which should also be present in the original. It is very delicate and can only be perceived in the projection. And it is important, because the projection is what our environment perceives when we wear a scent. You should always try to place yourself next to your body when trying out a perfume. If you only press your nose to the the back of your hand you will miss a lot. For me, a piece of refinement and finesse becomes visible, as we attribute it to the classics of the French perfume art.

Compared to the original, L'Homme Idéal Eau de Parfum is the finer fragrance. The vanilla in front of the more discreet oriental-woody background gives me an impression of softness. For me, it's less for the office and going out, more for private, intimate occasions. If the original is for the week, then L'Homme Idéal Eau de Parfum is for Sunday.

Apicius 2 years ago 2
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
5
Sillage
10
Bottle

Incredibly young
If I was asked what I smell most in Guerlain's main gents' cologne L'homme Idéal, I would say I smell the lots of work that Thierry Wasser must have put into during its development.

Maybe once in a decade, Guerlain releases a new gent's cologne which is to become the basis of their revenues. After its successful introduction, flankers usually follow over the years, extending the range of the original style to further directions of smell. Unlike the freedom one may find in niche perfumery, a fragrance like L'homme Idéal must be spot on. Missing the spirit of time or the audience's taste would be a disaster.

With this in mind, I admire the courage to go for a sweetish oriental as a follow up of the warm and woody Guerlain Homme. Like its predecessor, L'homme Idéal is all about base notes. But as it is the case with many excellent Guerlain perfumes, you fail if you try to describe the fragrance along the published scent notes. All I can say is that a typical Guerlain tonka gets transferred by dark and warm, maybe also slightly herbal notes into a very unique sweetish accord. Denominations like almond accord or Amaretto can roughly describe its style but should not be taken too literally.

L'homme Idéal does not create a fragrance sensation that points to an outer experience. No dark forests, green meadows, salty sea air or the like will appear in the imagination. Instead, L'homme Idéal points back to the personality and, of course, the body of the wearer itself. With modest warmth it is aiming to enhance physical presence and attraction. I being that way, L'homme Idéal is exactly in line with its predecessor. Perfumes like these are stylish in a way that a perfectly fitting suit can be regarded as stylish: slightly underlining the appearance of the wearer without giving too much statement of its own.

A whole group of mainstream perfumes nowadays try to achieve this effect by dimming down the strength of the fragrance to be more an aura rather then a scent. I appreciate this approach but with L'homme Idéal, this kind of smell reduction was not necessary. In a way, L'homme Idéal is both expressive and understated. Incorporating such contradicting aspects into one perfume is brilliant.

I perceive L'homme Idéal as an incredibly young fragrance. Expressive, sweetish orientals are generally the taste of teenage boys. At a certain age, one can eat a whole bag of candies without the slightest hint of nausea. In full awareness of this context, the industry has launched numerous very affordable sweetish, strong colognes aimed at the young audience. Just mention this to school teachers, and see how they will roll their eyes!

With its sweetness, L'homme Idéal docks onto fragrance and taste experiences we may remember from teenage years. But the whole topic is dealt with on another, much more mature and refined level. L'homme Idéal can be a kind of accelerator that provides access to the world of adult perfumery for the young. A young man used to affordable orientals may want to buy L'homme Idéal along with his first suit, and wear both at the wedding of his mate.

I think it is worth considering if a perfume that is to attract the young in return also emanates juvenile attraction in the perception of the old.

Be that as it may - men who long outgrew teenage smelling and eating habits can still use L'homme Idéal and regard themselves as age-properly dressed. Maybe it is time to leave the vetivers, the chypres and all the other beautiful oldster frags behind...

I very much like Thierry Wasser's and Guerlain's approach. Although driven by commercial interests, he is doing the same as we try to do with our perfume reviews: arousing interest in perfume beginners for high quality perfumes.
1 Reply

Apicius 2 years ago 3
5.5
Scent
7
Longevity
6
Sillage
8
Bottle

Flanking a flanking perfume
Vetiver can stand for much different fragrances. The classics elegantly showcase the beautiful dark green note of this exotic grass root. However, more contemporary interpretations often show their own approach. Terre d'Hermès Eau Intense Vétiver is one of the latter.

The fragrance opens citrusy and fresh, whereas the note denominated as bergamot lasts unusually long. I sensed it somewhat differently, not completely typical. One may come to the conclusion that a synthetic fragrance ingredient may have been used instead of natural bergamot oil. Behind the citrus stands a fresh green note which I perceived as cucumber-like. A strange combination for a gents' fragrance.

By and by, the citric note becomes more rooted. The freshness steps back for a somewhat rough woodiness. This intermediate section of development will be passed through within an hour or so. A modern, dry wood note remains, partly still with a citric undertone. We already know that kind from another perfume flanking the original Terre d'Hermès : Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche.

Standing in the tradition of Ellena one may not expect overly complex perfumes by Hermès. A few well-chosen fragrance ingredients - and that should be it. Also Christine Nagel follows that path, but with some limitation. I find the head with its cucmber note quite quirky. It does not appeal to me.

Obviously, Ellena's Eau Très Fraîche was the blueprint for Nagel's Eau Intense Vétiver. In the base note, both meet in a presumably identical wood note. But whereas Ellena shows that a puristic concept - citrus meets dry wood - can be completely sufficient, Nagel's opus appears to me as a disimprovement.

By the way, whoever is looking for the characteristic aromatic note of the popular original fragrance may be disappointed by both. Dry and synthetic woodiness has taken its place. Both have nothing to do with the original.

And what about the intense vetiver? Well, I hardly smell any. If at all, I sense a certain roughness or robustness in the middle section of the fragrance development. This reminds me of a not so elegant aspect of vetiver. In many classic vetivers, the perfumers have successfully covered this aspect.

Vetiver always sounds good - this must be the reason for the use of it in the perfume's name. I am not fond of such a naming if the denominated note does not stand in the focus or is even hardly perceivable. This causes irritation, especially for perfume beginners.

We know beautiful fragrances by Chrstine Nagel. It seems to me she got the stipulation to closely relate to Ellenas Eau Très Fraîche. However, some things should be left as they are.
1 Reply

Apicius 3 years ago 6
9
Scent
8
Longevity
10
Sillage
5
Bottle

Anglomania for Gents
Dou you still remember the „red“ fragrances that were so popular at the end of the 1980ies? Jil Sander’s Feeling Man, Gainsboro’s G-Man and, most of all, Joop! Homme which has survived the times? The colour red, being part of the packaging, somehow seemed to have an olfactory equivalent in those perfumes – and not just there. Scented tea with wild cherry flavour was hip, and one or the other perfume buyer – without being clear about it – may have let his taste experience influence his buying decision.

Is it the red colouring of the perfume that made me smell Joop! Homme for a split second? Howard Jarvis, our friend from Australia, however, sees his latest gents’ fragrance in a completely different setting. One reads about Redwood forests, about lichen and moss. It is humid and foggy, and lastly, a dragon appears – apparently a peaceful dragon, as he lets the hiker have a glimpse into his glimmering golden clutch.

I have no idea how pure Dragon’s Blood oil smells like. This note is found rarely in perfumes. Maybe it is the basis of the not quiet correct impression of red and black berries that I get. Be that as it may, here, a dark and powerful red was transferred into a perfume. Sometimes, one really can smell a colour...

Wild Dragons blood does not take long preliminaries. The fragrance is present in an instant – beautiful, grand and extensive. Caution is advised: very few spritzes are enough to flood a room. The sillage is too strong for the office. Better wear it in the evening, maybe on a spree through smoky bars. Some courage is required nevertheless since this dragon’s fragrance is quite loud.

This perfume bears the signature of its creator. During drydown – which starts setting in after an hour or so – the woodiness of the primarily appearing cedar oil is more and more pushed aside by a resinous note. I have smelled this resin or a similar note in other Bud perfumes before.

What I like in this fragrance is the balance of the different notes. Only those who are searching for it will isolate a whiff of frankincense or beeswax here or there. More than that, I smell the work that may have been necessary to achieve this balance.

Let’s go back to red: once, there was a wonderfully strong, red and robust ladies’ fragrance which I really regretted not being able to wear as a man: Vivienne Westwoods Anglomania. Concerning style and expression, Wild Dragons Blood comes quite close to it. But with its woody and resinous notes, it stays on the masculine side.

With Wild Dragons Blood, Howard Jarvis contributes a beautiful perfume to a fragrance category that one does not find so often. He asked me to write a few lines, and I gladly accepted his request.

Apicius 5 years ago 6
8
Scent
9
Longevity
5
Sillage
8
Bottle

Concealed Opulence and Physical Attractiveness
Jil Sander is a highly respected and well-known German fashion designer with an own perfume brand. Starting in 1968, she has created - I dare say - an iconic style: modern, puristic, comitted to clean lines. For me, she is somewhere in between the Seventies and pure Bauhaus.

Some of the gent's perfumes became iconic especially to perfumistas: Feeling Man from the late Eighties and Background from the Nineties - a heritage that not all successors stood up to.

More or less all perfumes released under that brand have followed a certain design guideline that points back to Jil Sander - although she has sold her company and brand name long ago. Releases come regularly as to keep Jil Sander present in consumers' awareness.

The new Strictly is one that I will not forget so quickly. It approaches the opulence of a woody-aromatic from the cool, puristic, simple and plain point of view that Jil Sander stands for.

At first, forget about the notes.The aromachemical industry provides fragrance components that stand for themselves and do not directly imitate a natural smell. This does not make it too easy to describe such a fragrance. However, the aromatic impression is driven by a discernable touch of Vetiver in the basenotes - but without making it a typical Vetiver perfume. If Vetiver is used here it is integrated into an aromatic compound - slightly alcoholic or boozy, and with a strange effect: it provides warmth, in an almost intimate way. You wonder if what you smell is a perfume or already part of an attractive man's bodily odour.

A gent's cologne like this is rare but not too avantgardistic. Others have already explored this territory: Jil Sander's Strictly stands in a line that begins with Jasper Conrad's Mister, then over Lubin's Itasca, DSquared's Potion to Vetiver Bourbon by Merchant of Venice. Whereas the latter delves in opulence and refuses to leave the wearer's clothes, Sonia Constant and Olivier Pescheux accomplished a light perfume that will never push its way into the foreground. You may have an extra spritz without overapplying it.

I have to say I generally like these kind of woody-aromatics. They can emphasize the physical attractiveness of a man - if worn by the right person of course. I can't say if this is my own special perception or if others experience it in a similar way. I hope for more comments on Strictly and its neighboring fragrances.

Strictly is a very wearable fragrance that integrates closely into the wearer's presence. More aura than perfume, it is a good choice for the office but certainly also for the evening.

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