GypsyJohnGypsyJohn's Perfume Reviews

GypsyJohn 6 years ago 3
Class Never Goes Out of Style
There are some scents you get, experience and can't wait to review, to gush words of praise and tell the world from the rooftops. When I first encountered BPH, it was almost a decade after its release (2006) and I bought it scent unsniffed, from an online retailer after reading the reviews of parfumisti far wiser and experienced than myself. It was an obviously well-made woody floral musk fragrance: clean and fresh without the tsunami of calone most newer men's scents of that era contained. Flowers musk and woods are deftly entwined, without too much sweetness or spice, and only enough citrus to tease out the freshness of the prevailing tea accord.

A slightly above average cologne with decent longevity and respectable projection, this found itself filed in the BVLGARI row of the designer shelf of my armoire after a few wearings and though it was failed to wow me. Had I reviewed this in my earlier reviews, I daresay I would have "sold it short"; mostly because I have an entirely new outlook on this scent, perfumer and house.

A prelude of freshness results from a cacophony of notes Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud has soothed to an harmonious choir of soft whispers, wafting as fresh as a breeze. Aldehydes add an airiness (as opposed to an expanding sparkle) while orange and bergamot add the needed citricity (and not a drop more) to attenuate the tea and petit grain; as they perfectly dissolve into leaf-tinged powdery floral notes of lavender and neroli closing a veritable perfect circle of clean, sans any of the usual soapy associations. BPH's aura of pristine masculinity makes it an utterly versatile scent choice suitable for the office, school, casual gatherings or a first date.

The floral choir in the heart (cyclamen, geranium and carnation led by iris) continues the floral theme of the opening lavender and develops it, making it deeper (not louder) and at the same time smoother with rosewood and guaiac. Cardamom (warm green sharp) pepper (piquant and sharp) and coriander (cool & leafy but bitter) are, like most notes in Msr. Cavallier-Belletrud's works especially for this House, imperceptible as individuals yet their additions are what makes this a flawless silk and velvet tapestry, as opposed to a flashy silk screen on simple material. The weaving of the aromatic threads and olfactive colors "just so" truly makes BPH more than the sum of the parts.

In the far drydown, the core of musk and cedar glows as it serves as a balancing point for the sweetness of amber (translucent amber is listed on Bvlgari's site) and *one single small?* tonka bean, against the dynamic duo of vetiver and oak moss while they hint at a hidden wildness underneath it all. BPH is a rather charming and very polite rascal beneath those starched collars and pressed trousers. Despite the fact this may seem cool or even aloof should not give you pause. Everyone needs a nice pressed neutral button-down shirt, that you can use with any outfit or situation. This is "that" shirt in a bottle-complete with mother-of-pearl buttons and hand sewn silk thread seams. Bravo!!

Sillage: moderate to very good
Longevity: above average (7-12 hours)
Overall: 4.25/5

Now BVLGARI's perfume catalog numbers upwards of seventy fragrances; but, when BVLGARI POUR HOMME hit the market, in 1996, there were only two! (EAU PARFUMEE AU THE VERTE '92 and BVLGARI POUR FEMME '94) Later that year another *new* favorite of mine was released: EAU PARFUMEE AU THE VERT EXTREME-nosed by Jean-Claude Ellena.

Currently BPH is still available at several online retailers (some for as little as .50/ml!) and remains a fixture worldwide at high-end fragrance counters and flagship stores. BVLGARI POUR HOMME seems to "play well with others" while offering year-round versatility, excellent quality-to-price ratio (or QPR) and sheer stunningness.

I, therefore, dub BVLGARI POUR HOMME a Modern Masterpiece. Not only for how it has stayed the course over the last two decades, defining and setting the bar for men's elegance and style; but also for its uniqueness, considering its time and contemporaries, and subtle balance of softspoken luxury with graceful sensibility.
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GypsyJohn 8 years ago 6
Old Enough to Know Better, but still Too Young to Care...
Rossy de Palma? After Secretions Magnifiques, you KNOW where my mind went...Rosy Palm! :) I had no idea that Rossy was even a real person. Now, after smelling this scent, I feel quite compelled to look her up...

This begins so very smoothly, enchanting with the brightness of citrus braided with a warm juicy warmth and a subtle spiciness...and the rose peeking playfully: heavenly! This scent is like a sexy vivacious woman who just winked at you...excitement courses through you that SHE might find YOU attractive! More enchanting than real roses RdP's heart "beats" with sensuality and pure sex appeal.

The alternating dryness of the carnation and the thickness of the jasmine define the roses' beauty better than one of Shakespeare's odes ever could. "The Vigin never wanders far from the whore" is quite apropos here; as this is at once soft, but charming and utterly lascivious. Not in a phony way, like young girls painted up as a child trying to look the part of a woman, but a woman who is at once innocent and naughty! A rose by any other name...should smell THIS GOOD! This is the svelte woman desired by all, with a slit up her dress almost to the hip...but she is no tramp. She has a tender loving side and exalts in making love (from the heart).

This dries down earthy, smoky and so delicious. For all her girliness and feminine wiles, she has an earthy almost raw sense of humour, and very amusing but candid way of looking at life. Oriental enough to be seductive, but earthy enough to be herself...Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection is an essay in contrasts. Bold, but never brazen (unless it heightens the passion), yet shy when she needs to be. I am thoroughly and utterly impressed!! This is a feminine scent, no doubt. But, it's drydown is fine for almost anyone. I would not care what anyone thought of me wearing's THAT good!

Sillage: very good
Longevity: great!
Overall: 4.25/5

Not the biggest fan of roses, to begin with, Miss Rossy has me quite in her spell. This enchanting olfactive composition is a true delight, and if you love roses, then this is all YOU. I like them okay and it has me, quite literally, drooling...

To give you an image of what kind of person this perfume would be, I imagine (upon meeting her and talking with her) something very like this:

Gypsy: Ms. Rossy, do you smoke after sex?
Rossy: *puffs cigarette sexily* I don't know, I never looked!
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GypsyJohn 8 years ago 9
Strong Enough for a Man...but made for a woman
#2) Jicky
(1889, Aimè Guerlain)
-golden forest brown-

Modern (c. 2012) extrait review

I have reviewed hundreds of fragrances and own in excess of a thousand; yet, no other scent has confounded me as much while managing to enrapture me so completely. Please bear with me as I attempt to translate something so utterly iconic and sublime as Jicky using only the written word...

I felt as if I was looking down the wrong end of the proverbial microscope, attempting to review and experience such a legendary and revered perfume as Jicky having only a decanted sample of the most recent extract version (read: "post-IFRA's most stringent guidelines and more than a decade after the LVMH takeover") with which to plumb the depths of Aimè Guerlain's late 19th century masterpiece. Yes, I know, that word gets bandied about a bit; yet if any scent ever deserved that appellation-it's Jicky, even this almost holographic representation is no less amazing and still has its Guerlain glimmer!

To put this perfume in an historical perspective, it was released right in the middle of the Belle Èpoque era (1871-1914) in Europe, corresponding to the Gilded Age in the US. The Eiffel Tower was unveiled (many scorned it calling it gauche and unsightly). Van Gogh painted "Starry Night". The Moulin Rouge was open for business and Gustav Mahler premiered his first symphony. Baudelaire, Gaugin, Matisse, Bernard, Toulouse-Lautrec and a very young Picasso frequented Paris nightlife and salons. Pierre-François had passed away twenty-five years earlier leaving the Guerlain legacy to his two sons: Aimè becoming a second generation Master Perfumer and Gabriel *father of Jacques* running and expanding the business. The Age of the Machine was dawning and as exciting as that was, folks were a little skeptical of anything "un-natural".

Guerlain was a pioneer and Jicky broke many a mold. It is touted as the first "emotive" perfume (not single note or place specific). This fragrance was not the first to use synthetics (Houbigant used coumarin in Fougère Royale 6 years earlier) but Aimè was the first perfumer daring enough to combine more than one synthetic (coumarin, ethyl-vanillin and linalool) into a blend of natural essences; thus its title of first "modern" perfume. Allegedly, it is also the first fragrance to be called "perfume", as opposed to eau de cologne I would imagine(?). He crafted Fleurs d'Italie (1884), Skine (1885) and Rococo (1887) beforehand and Excellence (1890), Belle-France (1892) and his dual swan songs of Capricime alongside his generational ode to cologne Eau de Cologne du Coq in 1894 afterwards; however Jicky is, in my humble opinion, his magnum opus.

Without intending to (or perhaps he DID) M. Guerlain conceived and created a very androgynous unisex perfume. Supposedly, this was released for women, but was later adopted by men, ultimately being favored by both genders. One myth states prostitutes wore it because it left a very masculine trace and trail (not the more feminine scents usually worn by courtesans) lingering on their (presumably married) clients.

Then, just as now, many people fear what they do not understand...and Jicky remains perplexing on many levels. It was not initially received well (many said it "smelled like feet!" in 1889) and I am sure the *still* visionary fusion of a classic fougère structure being adorned with sophisticated flowers dusted with a subtle mélange of oriental notes then drenched by an overdose of civet musk left many inquisitive sniffers with wrinkled noses; no doubt shaking their heads and reaching for their snuff tins.

Many call this perfume "schizophrenic". I disagree wholeheartedly. There must be a "schism" (break) for that to be true and Jicky is anything but fractured or confused. The reaction of modern people has been a bit insane; as I have gotten the STRANGEST range of comments while wearing Jicky for the last few days (trying to wrap both my nose and brain around it). Everything from "you smell awe-some!" to (Sherapop's aforementioned) "spice cake" accord to my partner's declaration that one of the most majestic fragrances ever created reeked of "offal...with burnt hair on top"! Moral of the story: TRY BEFORE YOU BUY...because Jicky doesn't come cheap! *see links below*

An immediate vaporous warmth surrounded me as a lemon-dominated blend of citruses add lift to gradually unfurling herbal accords and the aroma of savory spices. Its true fougère nature is apparent as velvet lavender opens in the heart giving this a classic appeal with rustic undertones. The inviting charm of the opening draws you, like a bouncing and bright will-o-the-wisp, guiding you into a half-lit forest dense with fertile soil, cool greens and heady blooms wafting through humid air tinged with muskiness. A beguiling creature appears from the underbrush, each and every movement graceful while gliding between the trunks. It continues prancing and laughing with a blend of innocent joy and mature wisdom though each and every gesture belies an intimate sensuality and deep connection to the Earth.

This being radiates a masculine strength and rural ruggedness; yet, its obvious gentleness and feminine grace enchants, even as it confounds. Aimè Guerlain used varying degrees of green (orris, linalool and vetiver) to blend seemingly incongruous notes ultimately bridging the gap between "his" (fougère) and "hers" (floriental) with perfumed tendrils who pull the scent together as it expands and evolves.

An exotic balminess remains languorously for hours on skin. Coumarin's sweet breath lingers over vanilla glazed and spice-impregnated wood. Jicky purrs quietly as it caresses you one last time, emitting a (for want of a better term) "fresh funk" that haunts the memory with its beauty, almost as much as its oddness, before fading away into the wee hours a cold frosty night.

Projection on modern Jicky extrait varies greatly, depending on whether it's dabbed or sprayed, and on where it's applied. The longevity (especially on clothing, detectable even days later) is superlative. Sillage is soft, yet it can reappear-stretching and baring its claws a bit-when skin warms. It wore best for me on a drizzly and chill autumn day. Jicky is the perfect scent for such occasions as it has a definite ambience and moody complexity.

Silage: moderate then soft
Longevity: above average
Overall: 5/5

Jicky is like the groovy great grandmother perfume surrounded now by her various fresh, oriental and fruity floral progeny. She is still amazing, warm and full of life. Unfortunately, she is not what she once was. Though very much alive she tires quickly and doesn't do quite as much as she used to do. Her very matronly aura commands respect though she is anything but formal, quick to hug with a joke and a smile. Always comfortable with herself and who and what she was, perhaps it is best we choose to remember her how she was in her heyday, full of sass and a total knockout while still being grateful we have her around today. She's still that lady (and always will be) who remembers (though she may claim that she doesn't) sylvan moonlight soirées and dancing barefoot in clothes that smelled of earth, love, smoke and flowers wandering home at dawn; now smiling and humming as she taps her nimble feet and gazes with ancient eyes at a full golden midsummer moon.

Love her or hate her, then or now, Jicky deserves the title of Legend
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GypsyJohn 8 years ago 3 1
Where it all began...
#1) Eau de Cologne Impèriale
(1853, Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain)
-pastel chartreuse-

It does my perfumed heart good and gives me hope that today, in the early years of the twenty-first century, I can still purchase and am currently wearing Guerlain's EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE. First crafted by Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain in the mid-nineteenth century for the Empress Eugenie (wife of Napoleon) to ease her "migraine" suffering, this perfume has stood the test of time. Guerlain showed a thing or two to those snooty Parisian perfumers who, in 1828 when he opened his first shoppe on rue de la Paix in Paris, proceeded to tell him his perfumes were "worthless".

With worthy 1853 marketplace contemporaries like FLORIS London, Acqua di Genova, Meulhens, Roger & Gallet, Penhaligon's, Borsari, Houbigant, CREED and Grossmith to name just a handful-M. Guerlain had his work cut out for him. Taking and tweaking the original "Farina" 1709 citrus/cologne framework, he added subtle florality of neroli and limette and deftly threaded herbal nuances of verbena and rosemary throughout. After the Imperatrice tried this, Guerlain was promptly named as "royal supplier" to the court. Specializing in making personalized formulae for his clients, Guerlain created roughly 30 fragrances for which he is still remembered. EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE is, at least from my point of view, what began a legacy of nearly 300 fragrances and ushered in an empire dedicated to beauty, luxury and art that has survived almost 200 years to remain one of the oldest fragrances still in production today.

This fragrance bursts from the atomizer lively and revitalizing as cold lemon collides with bright bergamot. A healthy twist of zesty orange warms these, keeping them from waxing overly sour or bitter. Within moments, the herbal facets of verbena add a decidedly green smoothness to the citric edge wafting truly tonic, becoming neither medicinal nor astringent before fading into a creamy lavender note that straddles floral and soapy deftly. The result is a creamy pristine aura radiating freshness while leaving one "feeling" just showered and clean. The sublime simplicity of the fragrance (created and, no doubt, applied lavishly and often considering there was no indoor plumbing at the time and baths were a WEEKLY ritual, even for the aristocracy) is that it doesn't just smell like soap; or even all that much like perfume, for that matter. It possesses a lather-like quality, dense but airy, that clings to skin like a foamy veil; rather than a cloud of "perfume".

Those with "perfume sensitivity" that I know and have worn it around say they find this to be not only something they like...but would actually WEAR! Monsieur P-F-P Guerlain is still wowing *non-parfumisti* people 161 years later!! THAT is what true unadulterated beauty can do and its that transcendent and sublime quality that has made this a piece of history and work of timelessness. Innocent, yet elegant EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE does not say much, or say it very loudly, but what it does say is really fun, even uplifting and makes you feel renewed and refreshed-even if only for a few hours.

I am sure I do not need to talk at length about the poor longevity and soft sillage of this scent; being that this is (by name even) an EDC. I own 2 ounces (sent to me by a dear member who bought the 8 oz/240 ml "bee bottle" decanter) of this evanescent elixir. Worn twice before (and then only to bed), I wore it and it exclusively over the last three days. I applied it heavily and my supply is only down by about 1/3 total volume. I generally apply two sprays to each wrist *touching them to inner forearms*, one to each side of my neck two to the chest, one to the back of my neck and THEN walk through a dense mist, after dressing, to coat my clothing & hair. All this gets you a wee bit more citric heaven. Layering a hemp-based citric essence & blossom lotion over a verbena body wash (Yves Rocher) helped it shine a tad longer, as well. I am not worried by these so-called concerns and am quick to just follow my dear friend's advice and just apply more; and NOT just because it is "weak" or "fleeting" (which it is!) but mainly because it smells so amazing, crisp and real!

As far as the base notes and a fixative go, they are (as Sherapop so astutely observed) virtually non-existent-thus the poor longevity. I did, however, notice (after at least three more refreshing re-applications of jus) that what was on my (freshly showered and unadulterated) skin began to build up a gentle, almost chiffon-like, spiciness permeated with a savory sweetness, after the giggling of the neroli and linden flowers had finally quieted. I have worn, researched, dissected, spritzed and even tasted this scent, accidentally, as I was eventually splashing it on (with the wild abandon of the lady in the Jean Nate commercial) and actually had one of the most productive days I have had in months.

Aromatherapy? Most definitely. Perfume? Indeed. EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE is similar to the perfect tones and hues of a pastel landscape of a crisp & bright spring morning sunrise. You look at it, you SEE it but...until you look INTO it, you do not realize what a truly masterful rendering you are experiencing. This Eau is the first in a wonderful line of Les Eaux (one "cologne" composed by each generation's Master Perfumer) that could and may one day stand in a perfume museum to illustrate the evolution of citrus scents and eaux de cologne throughout the Modern Age.

Sillage: soft
Longevity: poor
Overall: 3.75/5

May you rest in peace, Pierre-Francois Guerlain. Your brilliance and beauty's spirit live on today. In addition to smelling divine your perfumes and story serve as an ever inspiring example to those who may be plagued by naysayers and detractors that if you follow your vision and never compromise your art you might render a classic work and eventually be recognized, even celebrated, and know that others love and embrace your creations. There is no greater gift one can give to posterity than that.

I am both humbled and exalted when I sport this. Humbled to be able to experience a moment in time, the scent of an era. I am equally uplifted by both the fantastic aroma hovering close to my skin and the stories of the real people behind the legends. An Empress a perfumer nineteenth century's all there...

...if you inhale deeply enough.
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