Cartier Declaration for Men

Happy New Year! I am back with a Cartier. I was thinking of doing a more unique fragrance as the first for 2013, but after humming and hawing over what that fragrance may be, I decided a Jean-Claude Ellena designed Cartier would have to do. That Smell will be back to normal next week.

Declaration for Men

Declaration for Men

In Bottle: Citrus, sharp orange, no sweetness–but very bitter with an earthy quality and a spicy kick.

Applied: Bitter orange with a blend of birch in the background. I get some spices upfront too and an almost animalic quality that I’m assuming is coming from an ambery leather combination. There’s definitely something that smells a bit “off” about this, but it’s “off” on purpose, like Declaration is trying to tell me to like it or leave it. Anyway, as the scent ages, it gains more woodsiness, takes on a floral bouquet with warm leather and that constant off smell in the background as the spices roll in. It took a long time for Declaration to get anywhere, it has fantastic longevity and projection so if you want something that will stick around all day and don’t mind occasionally getting a whiff of faint uncleanliness then this might be up your alley. As the scent dries down, I get more spices, more vetiver and a smooth leather that rounds things out very nicely.

Extra: Declaration has quite the lengthy list of notes and the complexity it boasts is no surprise for how much stuff is jammed into it. It smells of sophistication and good taste, but at the same time, it warns the fainthearted off with what people call the “sweaty armpit” undercurrent that runs through this scent. Whatever it is, those who brave it might come to love it.

Design: Declaration has a nice enough look. Simple in general with a bit more attention paid to its cap. It’s easy to hold, pleasing to look at with no garish bone on its body.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Spicy

Notes: Artemisia, caraway, coriander, birch, mandarin orange, bergamot, neroli, bitter orange, iris, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, juniper, orris root, jasmine, cardamom, leather, amber, tea, vetiver, oakmoss, cedar.

I don’t relish much on the off smell in this. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll note that I tend massively toward the clean so Declaration was a bit of a surprise for me. I appreciate it on the complexity level, but I think I’ll pass.

Reviewed in This Post: Declaration for Men, 2012, Eau de Toilette.


M. Micallef Ylang in Gold

The perfume house of M. Micallef got in touch with me again and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their new, Ylang in Gold fragrance. Given the awesome Vanilla scents I tested from their last location, I really couldn’t say no.

In Bottle:Sweet, a little fruity up top with a nice clean and fresh vanilla background.

Ylang in Gold

Ylang in Gold

Applied: Sweet fruitiness, refreshing upon application. I get vanilla almost instantly with a clean waft of mint. As the fragrance wears on, the vanilla calms down a bit and the sweetness gets tempered by a pleasant mix of ylang-ylang and soft lily. The scent is very light, almost creamy with a lovely smooth aroma that I guess is coming from the combination of clean musk and coconut. The longer I wear it, the more vanilla comes back to further smooth out the scent. In the end, I get soft vanilla musk with a hint of woods and the barest reminder of ylang-ylang.

Extra: Ylang in Gold is the third member of M. Micallef’s Jewel Collection that features Jewel for Her and Jewel for Him. Ylang in Gold comes in two forms, one with a gold dust mixed with the juice and another without the gold dust. My sample didn’t have the gold dust. I’m not a big fan of shimmer on my skin so I actually preferred to go without it.

Design: Like with most bottles by M. Micallef, Ylang in Gold was hand decorated with little Swarovski crystals. I really like the presentation of it. The shape of the bottle is fairly standard, but the designs help give it a bit of uniqueness and luxury flare. It’s very fitting for its collection, looks quite nice, and is presented rather nicely.

Fragrance Family: Floral Oriental

Notes: Tangerine, geranium, sage, rosemary, artemisia, ylang-ylang, rose, lily of the valley, magnolia, mint, sandalwood, coconut, vanilla, musk, oakmoss.

I can best describe Ylang in Gold as a very soft vanilla with a nice sprinkling of Ylang-Ylang. It’s pleasant, very wearable and a bit sophisticated. If you’re interested in a bottle, you can nab one at LuckyScent as well as at their Scent Bar physical store, Parfum1, Parfumerie Nasreen, and Osswald NYC.

Reviewed in This Post: Ylang in Gold, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Disclaimer: The fragrance reviewed in this post was provided to me for free for the purposes of review. In no other way am I receiving pay or compensation for this review. This review was written based upon my personal experiences and opinions of the product.

Thanks to Micallef for giving me the opportunity to try this fragrance and Jeffrey Dame at Hypoluxe for forwarding on the sample.


Yves Saint Laurent Kouros

Every time someone asks for a strong, long-lasting fragrance marketed toward men someone else is bound to suggest Kouros.

Kouros

Kouros

In Bottle: Holy cow, it’s strong. Yeah, I’d say it lives up to its reputation. Bergamot, I think is what I’m smelling with a lot of aldehydes and some drowning florals.

Applied: All right, I understand why a lot of people hate this fragrance. They were kidding when they said it was strong. If you were thinking of getting this because you wanted a strong (with italics and everything) fragrance then Kouros will make you happy. Well, it’ll make you happen if you happen to enjoy powerful animalic fougeres. Kouros starts off with a big hit of bergamot that’s bolstered with a ton of aldehydes and a spicy herbal treatment that adds to the masculinity of the fragrance. You’re going to see a lot of hyperbolic language in this post because this stuff is strong. Period. It’s a bit screechy at first, and if you’re not used to strong fragrances, you will get a headache or your nose will be overwhelmed. Let Kouros rest on your skin for a while and it’ll develop into a deeper more animal fragrance that introduces another round of spices and a bit of incense. This is complex defined with its classical personality paired with an 80s Powerhouse underbelly. The dry down never seems to come with this stuff as it’s just so strong and so dominant that I can only say by the time I had to shower it off, it still smelled finely of smoke, musks, spice, florals and confidence.

Extra: Kouros was released in 1981. Named after a Greecian statue that typically depicts a youth in a standing pose.

Design: Not the most interesting bottle to look at, but I do notice the relative simplicity of men’s fragrance packaging compared to women’s fragrances. Kouros is a fine design though. It’s simple but functional, would not look out of place on a man’s wardrobe or wherever he chooses to use his cologne. It’s nice to hold, easy to use, and has an excellent sprayer.

Fragrance Family: Fougere

Notes: Aldehydes, artemisia, coriander, clary sage, bergamot, carnation, patchouli, cinnamon, orris root, jasmine, vetiver, geranium, honey, leather, tonka bean, amber, musk, civet, oakmoss, vanilla.

Despite being so strong Kouros hits a nice and reasonable ground with me so that I don’t find it repulsive and strong. It’s a good fragrance, it’s very strong, and it’s considered close to the classics. If you can handle it’s strength then you’ll be very happy with it.

Reviewed in This Post: Kouros,  ~2000, Eau de Parfum.


Montale Wild Aoud

The Montale line of fragrances is known for its numerous different interpretations of aoud. I find it kind of funny that up until now, I only had non-aoud samplers. But that’s okay, I’m going to remedy that by smelling Montale’s Wild Aoud.

Wild Aoud

Wild Aoud

In Bottle: Whoa, lots of aoud in this one with an underlying hint of warm smokiness. Very nicely done.

Applied: Bergamot with sharp citrus as the aoud comes up rather quickly as the scent heads into its midstage followed by a soft floral presence that lingers in the background of the fragrance. As Wild Aoud continues to progress the florals disappear while the aoud continues to go strong as a clean woodsy note settles into the midstage marked with a progressively smoky personality as the fragrance keeps aging the dry down smells like a warm amber and smoky patchouli fragrance with that–by now–familiar aoud scent.

Extra: I haven’t gone out to seek many aoud fragrances but many perfumistas love the aoud note. Aoud is a resin that forms in the heartwood of Aquilaria trees when they are infected by a certain type of mold. The smell, to me, has a very pungent animalic quality with a hint of sweetness. Unpleasant on its own but mixed well into a fragrance and it can give the perfume a whole different dimension.

Design: Designed in much the same way as many other Montale fragrances. A rather plain-looking metal bottle that is, in this case, a warm dark brown color. It’s functional though not entirely exciting to look at. The most fascinating part of these bottles are the toppers.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Bergamot, geranium, artemisia, aoud, teak wood, patchouli, tobacco.

Wild Aoud is a nice fragrance that showcases the aoud note in it, but given how many aoud based fragrances (many in Montale’s line too) , I do wonder if there are any that interpret aoud in a different way. This makes me want to hold off on committing to an aoud until I’ve tested more.

Reviewed in This Post: Wild Aoud, 2009, Eau de Parfum.


Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

Le Male’s something of a classic for men’s fragrance, I guess. Well, maybe classic is putting it a bit too high on the totem pole. What Le Male is, however, is a very successful, very nice oriental fragrance that many men who prefer something outside of Acqua di Gio tend to enjoy.

Le Male

Le Male

In Bottle: Initial whiff of lavender and spices in Le Male. It’s at once familiar and unique.

Applied: Spicy lavender up top. Le Male’s reminiscent of a fougere fragrance with a major spicy kick. The cardamom, to my nose is particularly strong along with the cinnamon note. It reminds me a bit of this awesome chai tea that I really like that features cinnamon and caraway rather heavily. The lavender helps pull the fragrance together from the get go, as its little whiffs of mint and bergamot that were in the initial spray make way for a warm, dry midstage that sees an introduction of a slight floral sandalwood scent. The dry down is very dry with lavender hints hanging on and its spicy cinnamon making a very good run as the sweet, dry, woods scent of the base takes the rest of the show.

Extra: Le Male is strong and has excellent projection, so watch how much of this you spray on yourself. Especially you guys who wear this almost every day. Your nose may have adapted to the scent from prolonged use and you might be overdoing it a bit. I’ve stood close to a man who overdid the Le Male and it turns this brilliant spicy fougere into a powerful mess. Easy on the trigger and you’ll smell awesome though.

Design: Iconic design from Jean Paul Gaultier of the “torso bottles”. Le Male is packaged in a blue torso bottle resemble a man’s chest and hips. The fragrance itself comes in a tin can. Great for keeping out light and helping the fragrance keep a little cooler, but I can’t say I like having a tin can sitting on a fragrance shelf. Still, the torso bottle is a classic piece of design to some people, but for me, it kind of freaks me out to be honest. Still,as soon as you see these torso designs, you probably instantly think, “Oh, it’s Jean Paul Gaultier doing his thing again”. So if nothing else, it is memorable.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Oriental Fougere

Notes: Artemisia, lavender, mint, bergamot, cardamom, caraway, orange blossom, cinnamon, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, vanilla, cedar.

On myself, Le Male smells too iconically male. Though it’s a great scent that I really like. It smells like it belongs on a man though and that is probably because of the prevalence of the gender that often wears it. Still, it’s like I always say, if you like this enough then who cares what gender it was made for? Just wear it and rock it.

Reviewed in This Post: Le Male, 2001, Eau de Toilette.


Victoria’s Secret Pink

Point your nose anywhere and you’ll probably catch a whiff of this. Anywhere that a Victoria’s Secret store can be found anyway. Pink is one of those extremely lovable, innocent fragrances that’s so easy to like that it seems like you can smell it everywhere.

Victoria's Secret Pink

In Bottle: Bright and fruity floral. Sweet, obviously, and very easy to like. This isn’t too heavy, not too sweet, not to overbearing, just a really jovial blend that casts a little ray of sunshine on your nose.

Applied: So I was a little vague on the opener, that was because there’s nothing much about Pink that¬† really sets it aside from other fruity florals. The one thing I can say for it is how optimistic this smells. Like if you were to bottle the feeling of optimism, this is probably what it smells like to me. It’s a big flare of sweet citrus, crisp grapefruit layered sweet berries and soft violets and a pretty mix of freesia and peony in the middle. If you’ve smelled a fruity floral, Pink is a good reminder of that. The fragrance dries down to a very familiar sandalwood vanilla with a hint of clean vetiver in there to give the scent a really minor dot of sweet hay.

Extra: Pink has a lot of flankers named after it including Pink Sweet & Flirty, Pink Fresh & Clean, Pink Pretty & Pure, and Pink Soft & Dreamy. If you need it, there’s probably a flanker for it.

Design: Pink’s design reminds me of cheerleaders. Big bold letters, white on pink. Even the smell is something I’d imagine a high school cheerleader would favor. The design is a functional, if somewhat uninspired, shape.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Artemisia, bergamot, green leaves, mandarin, violet leaves, juniper berry, lily of the valley, freesia, peony, neroli, musk, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla.

I’m not a big fan of Pink myself. The scent is just fine, of course, very nice actually. It’s just so generic. Though I suppose that might be part of its charm.

Reviewed in This Post: Pink, 2009, Eau de Toilette.