Archive for December, 2008

Dior Homme Review

December 17, 2008

The final part of my Dior Homme series is the review of the original Dior Homme. Launched in 2005, and designed by Olivier Polge, Dior Homme is my favourite male fragrance. I think it to be very refined, and hope it remains on the shelves for the next 30 (at least) years, much like the other Dior classics, Eau Sauvage, Miss Dior and co, have remained on the shelves. The prominent use of Iris seperated it from many male fragrances, especially when most other releases were (and still seem to be) aquatics.

I must be honest and say that the first time that I smelled Dior Homme, I didn’t like it. I’d sprayed it on a tester card, diorhomme1and thought it smelled of nothing but wet card and talcum powder. I discarded the card and didn’t bother looking at it again. I’m so pleased that I went about sampling other fragrances, especially those that contain Iris, because once I returned to Dior Homme 2 years later, I fell head over heels in love with it. So to anyone sampling fragrance, I want to tell you this: tester cards tell lies about fragrances. Dior Homme needs to be tried on the skin. Also, I don’t understand where the association with lipstick or makeup bags came from. It doesn’t smell remotely makeup bag-like. Dior Homme is a compliment monster.

I sprayed Dior Homme on this morning and am immediately reminded of why I love it: today, a very cold and crisp Winter day, it smells lightly Citrus and Chocolatey (Bergamot and Cocoa). When I spray it on in the middle of summer, it smells more Aromatic, (this must be the Sage and Lavender) and slightly powdered and dry (Iris). What happens quite quickly is that Iris heads centre stage and coats everything with it’s dry, talcum powdery scent, and the top notes take a backseat while this happens – they are still there, but just watching before they head on home. Amber usually makes fragrances warmer, but I think Dior Homme remains suitably cool when Amber should be making it’s presence known.

As the fragrance hits it’s drydown, it turns from powdery Iris to a soft Leather jacket, followed by a sweet musky Patchouli and slightly smoky Tobacco. Don’t be concerned – this Patchouli is not in drag like Midnight Poison – it’s very soft and pleasant. Dior Homme is a true gentleman in all his guises.

Top: Sage, Lavender, Bergamot
Middle: Iris Concrete, Cocoa, Amber
Base: Vetiver, Patchouli, Leather

Dior Homme Cologne Review

December 17, 2008

Dior Homme Cologne was the first flanker to Dior Homme, and was launched in 2007. Cologne is probably the consumer friendliest of the original Dior Homme fragrances, but also possibly the most feminine of the bunch. Though the larger flacon does look more imposing amongst my fragrances.

diorhommecologneThe first impression of Dior Homme Cologne is that it is very citrus-y. This is not unusual for a Cologne. The Citrus note is quite bright though, almost as though a lemon has been freshly squeezed out of the bottle for you.

The great player of Dior Homme, Iris, also makes a wonderful play here in Cologne. It’s a pleasing twist on the original Cologne theme. The Iris note here is made warmer, and more powdery, almost as though another great powdery floral, Helitrope, has been added. Heliotrope reminds me of Ghost Sweetheart, a sticky-sweet powdery-floral feminine. But Tangerine and Orange Blossom both follow the Iris into the heartnoes, and sweeten it somewhat, reminding me of one of the many faces of Guerlain’s beautiful Cologne du 68.

The drydown is again, a very soft Leather, with Iris.

Top: Bergamot, Tangerine, Orange Blossom
Middle: Iris
Base: Vetiver, Leather

Dior Homme Intense Review

December 17, 2008

Dior Homme Intense was the second flanker to Dior Homme, and is the second in my Dior Homme Series of reviews. It was a limited edition, but has recently been reissued, which is very good news. The darker bottle and packaging of Intense gives a clue of what the fragrance smells of, which makes a change – usually things are called Black (ie; Dunhill Black, which smells Grey, not Black), Extreme (Paul Smith Extreme is a completely different fragrance to Paul Smith Man), or Intense, and smell either nothing like the original or the name is not an accurate description of the fragrance.

Dior Homme Intense is the Gourmand of the series, immediately sweeter than the original Dior Homme. It most certainly gives the most impressive sillage and longevity, and catches more attention than the other Dior Homme fragrances, so is probably best suited for a clubbing fragrance.

When I first spray Intense, I smell warm, almost molten Chocolate.  Iris (the soft, powdery floral note that caused so much stir when the original Dior Homme was launched) appears after the initial blast wears away, and transforms the fragrance into a powdered Chocolate scent.diorhommeintense

As the fragrance progresses, I catch a very strong sweet note appearing. This is reminiscent of M7, but it is certainly not Oud. After a little digging around the internet for the notes, I found out that this is caused by Ambrette (also known as Hibiscus seed). Ambrette seeds, if you’ve never smelled them, are used in the place of ingredients like Civet (a secretion from a cats glands), and are slightly musky and animal smelling, but also lightly fruity and sweet.

There is something Leathery and a Smoky Tobacco note in Intense, but it is hidden by much of the sweetness.

Top: Lavender
Middle: Iris, Hibiscus Seed
Base: Cedar, Vetiver

Dior Homme Sport Review

December 17, 2008

Over the past week, I’ve been off work suffering from a chest infection. This has left me with plenty of free time, and as my sense of smell is in no way hampered by the infection (it’s not a cold!), I’ve taken the time to write a series of reviews of the Dior Homme family of fragrances. I’m starting with 2008’s Sport, the most recent release from the house.

As part of my job, I go on training courses ran by the companies that own the fragrance brands. I remember the day I first smelled Dior Homme Sport, because it was the same day I smelled Insolence EdP for the first time (which is an absolutely stunning Violet fragrance, jacked up on steroids and fizzy pop), and fell in love with it, as well as the new Guerlain Homme (which made me order a Mojito at the bar opposite the Cardiff hotel where the training took place afterwards, and resulted in a very drunk and loud train journey home). Before we sniffed the fragrance, the rep from LVMH gave us all a glass of Ginger Beer, with lots of fresh lemon in it. I didn’t like the ginger beer very much. It stopped me being able to smell the fragrance properly, too.

diorhommesportDior Homme Sport is bright. Very bright. This is due to a large dose of citrus, mostly Lemon, but backed up with Bergamot and Grapefruit – it must intend to be White Grapefruit, because it’s almost bitter. As I press my nose to my arm again, I can almost see Lemon rind on the counter top, it’s been grated to go into the topping of a cheesecake that my friend baked – it was the best cheesecake I ever ate. The citrus is also slightly soapy, and fresh from the shower.

But the extremely bright Lemon is not alone here, which is how it feels in Allure Homme Sport Cologne. It’s brought a friend, a very brash and loud Ginger. Ginger brings a great spicy asset to the fragrance. Most of the Sport fragrances on the market are citrus and shower fresh, but there isn’t much else to them. Ginger is the reason Dior Homme Sport is different, and in my opinion, better, than those others.

A light Aromatic accord plays in the background, almost as if it were the harmony in a song to Lemon and Ginger’s leading role. Also, there is something fizzy in here. Fizzy seems to be the word I use to describe Cedar lately – it is the same fizzy sensation I get from Armani Diamonds, and Comme des Garcons H&M. The drydown is a soft, dry woody fragrance, with a slightly salted vetiver note.

Top: Citron, Bergamot, Grapefruit
Middle: Ginger, Elemi, Lavender
Base: Cedar, Vetiver, Sandalwood

A*Men Pure Coffee Review

December 6, 2008

Angel is widely regarded as the first ‘gourmand’ (edible) fragrance, and extremely beautiful. Every time I smell Angel I am instantly reminded of a friend who has worn this fragrance for all the time I’ve known her, and it always brings a big smile to my face. Angel’s edible notes of Honey, Chocolate, Berries and Caramel are the stars of the fragrance, though a powerful Patchouli note is what makes it.

Over the years, Angel has been flanked by Innocent, which is essentially Angel eating a gigantic, juicy Grapefruit, and Eau de Star, which is Angel behind a veil of Watermelon and Peppermint. Both equally beautiful.

amensmallA*Men (or Angel Men) is the masculine Angel. A*Men takes the Patchouli, Chocolate and Caramel of Angel, and burns it in it’s pan, before serving it in a bowl made of just-off-the-tarmac Tyres, with a mug of thick, black Coffee.coffeesmall

A*Men Pure Coffee is the Coffee served with A*Men. It is also the first gourmand I’ve fallen in love with the first time I sprayed it. Launched as a limited edition earlier this year, I sincerely hope this is the beginning of a series of interpretations of the A*Men fragrance, much like the Garden of Stars was for Angel.

Pure Coffee opens with a very potent Arabica Coffee note, present for mere seconds. I’m pleased that it doesn’t last too long, because it’s not “blended” into the fragrance – simply sitting there seperate from the rest.

After the Coffee has passed by, a mouthwatering Dark Chocolate and Vanilla accord lingers and weaves in and out of perception for hours and whenever it comes back, it makes me want to take a bite out of something. Anything! A sweet Tar note also hangs about, but it’s nowhere near as pronounced as in the original A*Men.

The dry, but sweetened, Woody Patchouli drydown lasts for hours, with the Tar note enhancing the Musks in the base.

Gorgeous stuff.

dunhill Black review

December 5, 2008

dunhill’s newest offering, dunhill Black, is exclusive to Harrods until February ’09.dunhillblack

The bottle and the cap weigh about the same, and the juice is a blue-grey hue.

It opens with a very crisp “greenery” note, the ‘nettle’ appears just after spraying and lasts for a few seconds. Cedar is most definitely detectable straight away, a similar cedar seems to be popular among recent releases, such as Diamonds for Men, where the cedar is somehow fizzy.
Once the nettle gives way, there is a very convincing green tea note, with a gentle citrus in the background, all wrapped inside of a tart herbaceous-greenness.

After about 15 minutes, the green gives way to the Lavender note, which isn’t over the top as in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Le Male, but instead quite subdued.  The lavender transforms into a gentle, slightly dirty, almost animalic Jasmine-leather.

Eventually, the Jasmine disappears and a very soft leather remains as a skin scent. Then, surprisingly, the lavender comes back into play with the leather.

It’s a great day-to-day scent, but the only thing ‘Black’ about this fragrance is the dirty Jasmine. And as it’s so transparent, it’s more grey than black.

Top: Green (nettle) Accord
Heart: Transparent Jasmine, Lavender
Base: Sensual Suede Accord