Sunday, April 16, 2017

fragrance tour, part 6

Continuing the tour of my colognes and eau de toilettes.



Calvin Klein
Encounter


What a strange scent. Rummy and woody nightclubbing scent, but it has that bit of oud in the base, like so many men's colognes from the early teens, all colored by the cool, smoky, barky taste of cardamom. It's sweet and medicinal, and very much of its time, although not all that popular as far as I can tell. Warms up to a nice sweet presence. Works well in cooler weather, but good all around too. It's so strange!
WORN SINCE: 2016


Prada
Luna Rossa


A compliment-getter for sure. It caters just enough to popular tastes while standing solidly on its own. The smell starts as a battle of lavender, citrus, and mint, but fades quickly to an orange-and-cedar combination that people just love, myself (and Catherine) included. In this way it reminds me of Azzaro Chrome, a superb scent I can't wear because it's so owned by my immaculately turned-out colleague Ken Slavin. I can't pick out the smell of ambergris, but they say it's here in synthetic version, and maybe that's what makes Luna Rossa just different enough that it smells like me and not my friend constantly lurking around the corner. It's a great big smile of a fragrance, a snazzy outfit, unfailingly clear. I got a couple of tiny free sample sprayers of it recently. Gotta get a bottle!
WORN SINCE: 2017


Yardley
Yardley


This after-shave was always at my grandmother's house on childhood visits, generously applied after a bath. I clicked around and found a vintage bottle. Even as I opened the shipping box, the smell overwhelmed me with memories. It's an old-fashioned smell, mentholy and witch-hazely, with a distinct lavender top note and a lingering mid-century smoothness. I put it together that the first times we used it at our grandmother's house were really only a couple of years after our grandfather had died. What did it mean to her to splash this on the young Brake boys? What fragrances will Greta and Clara, or their children, associate with bright or dim memories of me?
WORN SINCE: 1972

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Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

Thursday, April 13, 2017

fragrance tour, part 5

Continuing the tour of my colognes and eau de toilettes.



Lacoste
L.12.12 Blanc


When it first goes on it smells very typically guy-ish, that sporty citrusy smell that dominates dorms across the land (though it's on the grapefruity side, so that helps it be more distinctive). But after a few hours it mellows into a sweet woody smell with just a tinge of something distantly flowery. I wasn't sure whether it would pass the distinctiveness test, so I got a small trial size. Nearing its last spray, I'm resolved to get more. It has turned out to be a favorite. If L.12.12 Blanc went to high school with you it would be that guy on the tennis team who's athletic and "popular" but also actually popular — nice to everyone and pretty smart and fun and great to hang around with. It has the glowing presence that good fragrances have, that give you pleasure as you get whiffs throughout the day. Terrific in spring and summer.
WORN SINCE: 2014


Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Oud


Ohhhh, man. I have a whole ode to Oud here. Go ahead, read it! It goes into rhapsodic detail. The ancient intellectual-sensual smell of oud may be to fragrance in the twenty-teens what New Wave is to music in the nineteen-eighties: an era-definer that seeps into seemingly everything. Add to it a burst of saffron-flower, amid a peerlessly-blended swirl of complex tones, and Kurkdjian's masterwork is divinely hard to pin down in the mind: celestial, dark, smooth as hand-rubbed mahogany, masculine, satiny, powdery, sensual. This is the first fragrance I've been really excited about in a long time. Catherine is too. Every time I wear it, she can't stop sniffing and nuzzling. Near-perfect.
WORN SINCE: 2015


Banana Republic
Modern


And we go from the hautest of haute to the mall chain store. Vive la différence! This is a pleasant, cool, fresh scent. Someone described it as the smell left in a bathroom after a well-groomed guy has gotten ready. Soapy and cologny, not overbearing. Just a hint of wood gives it the note that a vintage skinny tie gives to an up-to-the-minute suit. Great to pack in your travel bag.
WORN SINCE: 2016

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Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

Monday, April 10, 2017

fragrance tour, part 4

Continuing the tour of my colognes and eau de toilettes.



Façonnable
Façonnable


Odd and elegant. It smells very mid-90s, which it is, for better and worse — mostly better. Supersuper sweet from beginning to end, with a mint/orange zip that offsets a glowing floral center. Its sweet warmth is wonderful for the sweaters and velvets of deep winter. Extra points for the distinctive bottle.
WORN SINCE: 1998


Perry Ellis
M


Stylish, a little sporty, clean. A firmly 21st-century fragrance. Maybe the most and best so far. It's already 13 years old, but today seems utterly new. It's a corrective to the aquatics of the 90s and the pungent powerhouses of the 80s and the sandalwood/musks of the 70s. For the entire time you wear it, it smells intriguing, which is a hard thing to pull off. It's said to smell of "star anise," but since the only place I've ever smelled that is in this cologne it's hard for me to get a handle on. It's not almondy, the way you'd think anise would be. But that appealing just-out-of-reach scent dominates from beginning to end, as the fresh spray of bergamot (a bitter, oily orange) fades into cinnamon and vanilla and coffee and a little wood, all matchlessly balanced. I've noticed with pleasure that, after several hours, it smells like book: that wonderful (vanilla-ish?) smell that hits you in an old bookshop.
WORN SINCE: 2016


Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari


Yes, it's a Ferrari brand. I usually don't go for that sort of thing, but then again if it smells good what does it matter? If you really don't care about this kind of marketing, well OK then, just let your nose be your guide. In this case, your nose wins. Launched in 2010, but more of a classic scent, with a lemony-lavender opening and a cheerful floral-tea smell to it. It even has that cedar-musk of yore lurking around. It's spicy and barbershoppy and very well blended, with a clean-boy soapiness that's never out of style.
WORN SINCE: 2017


Rocawear
Evolution


Another celebrity tie-in, I'm afraid: this time, with Jay-Z's fashion brand, which did a licensing deal with Elizabeth Arden in 2011. Again, the proof is in the smelling. This one's appropriately club-noir, a little boozy, but with enough spicy coffee and incense to sober it up. You can tell it's trying to be "sexy," though it ends up being fairly sexy anyway. It's not for every day, but it's young and fun and a little serious.
WORN SINCE: 2016
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Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

Thursday, April 6, 2017

HI-FIne print



Click on the above for a collection of those notices that give information and "information" about the recording process on old albums. (And cool new ones.)