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.


Escada Magnetism for Women

Magnetism by Escada is an easy to like and easy to wear sweet floral oriental with a stroke of pure fun.

Magnetism

Magnetism

In Bottle: Sweet vanilla blended with a fun fruity and juicy opening coated with flowers.

Applied: Sweet and green rather crisp and juicy up top with a distinct fruitiness that blends well with the fragrance. The scent delves into this floral mish-mash that comes out smelling distinctly flowery but keeps a rein on its strength. There is a sweetness throughout this fragrance that doesn’t take away from the fragrance’s purpose. In the end, it is a sweet sandalwood with an earthy vibe and a strong sweet vanilla finish.

Extra: Magnetism for Women was introduced in 2003. It’s a fairly decent fragrance though it’s not in any way groundbreaking. It does smell good and does the Escada brand some fine justice.

Design: Not too wild about the design of the bottle but then Escada’s bottle designs have always seemed a bit off to me. Magnetism is a hot pink curved glass bottle. It’s vaguely unpleasant and looks a bit too suggestive for me to take it seriously.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Floral Oriental

Notes: Pineapple, black currant, melon, berries, cassia, litchi, magnolia, orris, green leaves, freesia, basil, jasmine, caraway, heliotrope, lily of the valley, rose, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, musk, benzoin, caramel, vetiver, vanilla.

So in the end, Magnetism isn’t attracting me, but it is doing a good job of trying. If you want a nice, wearable floral oriental with a dollop of sweet then this might be good. As a bonus, Magnetism can be purchased from several discounters for a rather fair price.

Reviewed in This Post: Magnetism for Women,  2010, 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.


Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse

Yvresse has a bit of a funny history. According to Fragrantica, it was once known as champagne but was forced to change its name to Yvresse after a few lawsuits.

Yvresse

In Bottle: Juicy peach and nectarine note that’s very crisp coupled with a delicate white floral accord. Extremely pretty!

Applied: Crisp and fruity opening, very peachy and nectarine-y. Quite edible on the opening actually even with the white florals hidden in the background. Yvresse has a delicate, fruity touch upon opening as it starts to evolve into its mid-stage with a warming sensation and an introduction of spices and heavier flowers. Much to my delight the peach and nectarine notes take their time to fade out as the spicy floral mid-stage takes hold. The rose is the major star in the middle stage, amping up with the spice to remind me of classic roses, and other spicy rose iterations like Le Labo’s Rose 31. Now the rose in mid-stage Yvresse is not quite like Rose 31, it’s cleaner, fruitier, definitely sweeter, and–somehow–smells more mainstream yet remains approachable. The dry down is marked with a warm, sweet, vetiver and a green soft mossiness that mingles perfectly well with the lingering traces of spiciness.

Extra: Yvresse has been noted by some as a fruity chypre. And while I can readily agree with the fruity part, I was originally hesitant to call this a chypre myself. It certainly has the oak moss base and the progression of a chypre but I was still a bit hesitant. A little more thought and a little more time and I eventually came around to it all. Oak moss or no, Yvresse progresses like a Chypre. Its opening peach note often relating it to Mitsouko. But Mitsouko’s peach is still a great deal more sophisticated, and significantly less sweet. Yvresse, nevertheless, remains absolutely beautiful.

Design: Yvress’ bottle is a glass oval-like shape with textured elements on the glass itself. The juice is a yellow-golden color, giving the look of the bottle a luxurious edge. This bottle is easy to hold and easy to use. I just wish the cap wasn’t plastic–but then, I always end up wishing that.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Chypre

Notes: Nectarine, peach, caraway, anise, menthol, carnation, rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, cinnamon, litchi, vanilla, benzoin, amber, musk, styrax, oak moss, patchouli, vetiver.

I found it quite the challenge to get a look at this one in a department store. One would think a beautiful piece like this from a rather famous house like Yves Saint Laurent would be much easier to get a hold of.

Reviewed in This Post: Yvresse, 1998, Eau de Toilette.


Clive Christian No. 1 for Men

Happy April Fools Day. I only wish I was joking about the prices talked about in this post! No, I can’t be so frivolous as to drop the cash down for a Clive Christian fragrance. Not a full bottle anyway. My wallet is still hurting a bit from the tiny amount I do have just so I could sneak a sniff of one of Clive’s most fabled elixirs.

No. 1 for Men

In Bottle: Citrus and green with a dash of pepperiness thrown in there for a hint of spice. I smell vetiver, and a bit of something herbal. Rather complex from the get go with a distinctive vintage vibe to it. Very nice!

Applied: Starts off on a crisp, sharp lime note with an exotic blend of crushed spices taking the sharpness up a few more notches but never really letting it get out of hand. It makes a good first impression anyway. The fragrance has multiple layers of complexity and is one of those, “So many things I can’t separate them” stories. I’ll try my best through. The fragrance ages into the mid-stage with a steadily amping set of florals. I get jasmine for the florals, a hint of sophisticated rose. It is so well-blended that I can’t pick apart notes and frankly, I don’t really want to pick apart notes. The mid-stage is marked with a beautifully lush bouquet of florals. It is full and heady, with the spiciness that only serves to amplify the florals further. The mid-stage is where I really get that vintage feel. This smells like it belongs in the age of perfume greats. A time when Coty was more than celebrity perfumes and body mists. When Guerlain was family-owned and pumping out fragrance after fragrance of utter beauty. When Chanel No. 5 was how an elegant woman should smell instead of the old granny perfume it’s now known as. That’s what No. 1 for Men is. It’s actually a really pleasant trip to a time where I didn’t even exist. As No. 1 for Men dries down there’s a falling off of the florals but they never truly leave. I get a bit of the vetiver that I got in the bottle settling in at the bottom giving the florals a bit of extra boost as the fragrance digs itself out, leaving you with a faint air of lingering florals, a blend of woods, and a hint of dry vetiver.

Extra: Clive Christian acquired an old perfume house, Crown Perfumery, in 1999 and they have been coming out with stuff like this since. Clive Christian’s No. 1 fragrances are known as the most expensive in the world. This was a title that was once held by Joy by Jean Patou. These days, Joy is much more affordable and sanely priced. As for Clive Christian’s No. 1, it’s price goes up every year. The pure parfum presently sits near $2,500 CAD (Noted on Saks).

Design: As to be expected, the bottle is impeccably designed. In fact, most of the gush I found on this perfume was people talking about the packaging. For $2,500 I would certainly hope the packaging is worth it. One interesting thing to note is the crown design on the stopper was approved by the queen way back in the day. All I can tell you is, this is made of lead crystal, is flawless, glitters, the stopper has real gold on it, the stopper also has a diamond in it for goodness’ sakes. It looks great but imparts a sense of incredulity in me coupled with mild embarrassment. What else did I expect? I mean, it’s a $2,500 bottle of perfume. There is a similar iteration of the bottle design called Imperial Majesty which had better contain the hapless souls of lesser perfumes because the thing costs $215,000 USD.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Floral

Notes: Bergamot, lime, mandarin, grapefruit, cardamom, nutmeg, caraway, artemesia, lily of the valley, jasmine, rose, iris, heliotrope, ylang ylang, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, amber, tonka, musk.

Here’s the problem with this fragrance and its price point. For most of us, the $1000+ price tag is a major deterrent and the fine folks at Clive’s house know this. They purposefully price this fragrance way out of range to appeal to those wealthy enough to approach this fragrance and casually wave the money out of their wallets. For the rest of us schmucks, digging around in the dirt, we use testers. I judged this fragrance not according to just its scent, but according to its worth as a fragrance in comparison to its price.

To me, the juice in No. 1 for Men is no better than a vintage fragrance. It is certainly no match for an Amouage attar, a vintage Guerlain, or a natural blend from Aftelier. You are better off spending your money elsewhere. And while all of the alternatives I listed are expensive, they are not $2,500 expensive if you care about the juice inside.¬† This is a very competent fragrance with a beautiful old world soul that I don’t see enough of anymore. But is it worth the price? Honestly? In my opinion, no. I go nuts for perfume, but I draw my cash line somewhere. And that line is no where near the thousands.

Thankfully, if you just have a hankering to smell the fragrances with no desire to own the exclusive bottle, there is a travel set that (as of this writing) sells for $310USD. There are three fragrances¬† included (1872, X, No. 1 each bottle is 10ml)–paltry amount for $310, but this is the house that puts out perfume which requires you to take out a mortgage in order to afford.

Reviewed in This Post: No. 1 for Men, 2010, Parfum.