Posts Tagged ‘YSL’

Lacoste Challenge Review

July 19, 2009

Challenge is Lacoste’s most recent release, fronted by Hayden Christensen, best known as the second worst thing about the Star Wars prequels (Jar Jar Binks takes the crown). The bottle is coated with a soft rubbery material, and is meant to go back to Lacoste’s roots as a tennis accessories brand – and apparently Christensen plays tennis. Tenuous.

ChallengeChallenge opens with a citrus, herbal, green ‘smell’. It doesn’t smell particularly like any of citrus fruit I can think of, and the aromatic notes are quite disappointing too – Challenge doesn’t really grab attention. It does however remind me of a shower gel, rather than a fragrance.
As the heart appears, there is something vaguely sweaty or dirty behind a quiet and slightly peppery Ginger note. As usual, the Violet here isn’t floral, but rather Violet Leaf, which smells sharp and synthetic. It smells like YSL L’Homme, but missing a magical something. Challenge is made more tolerable by a surprising Pine needle note throughout the heart, and the wonderful drydown which is soft, creamy and woodsy – and actually smells very good! The problem is that the journey to the base is quite difficult, and then the base doesn’t last long enough on skin to justify it.

Top: Lemon, Bergamot, Orange
Middle: Ginger, Juniper, Lavender, Violet Blossom
Base: Teakwood, Ebonywood


Lancome Hypnose Senses Review

June 24, 2009

Hypnose Senses launches here in the UK next week. It is the first flanker to Hypnose, which originally launched in 2005, and is intended to be a “playful sensual fragrance to be worn as a second skin”. Aimed at the younger consumer, the Floral Chypre takes the current trends for Pink Peppercorns and Osmanthus and runs with it. I haven’t smelled the original Hypnose, so can’t comment in regards to a comparison with it.

Hypnose SensesSenses opens with a Peppery, Lemony Rose and some sweetness from Vanilla, as well as a powderiness mixed with the citrus.
As it progresses to the heart, the pepper falls away and is replaced with the sweet (and oily) floral Osmanthus note, which is very light, nowhere near as potent to me as that of Flora by Gucci, and is really overtaken by the Rose. To me, it’s a Rose-potent version of YSL Elle. The Rose is a combination of Tea Rose and Lemony Geranium – the Rose I’m used to smelling on the breeze from the neighbours garden. Benzoin is also apparent, but it’s transparent and not really a standout note. You have to really sniff to pick it up.
The drydown is a super clean Patchouli (no earth or dirt, thank you very much) with the salty Musk-Amber that I recognise as the base in YSL’s Elle and Stella. Many of the recent launches from the L’Oreal owned brands have this note now. Senses isn’t particularly powerful after the somewhat shortlived heart – I guess this could be what Lancome mean by “second skin”. The overall picture is a very soft, very girly fragrance, that smells like a higher quality version of Ghost Cherish – but no good for guys.

Top: Mandarin, Pink Peppercorns, Honey
Middle: Osmanthus, Rose
Base: Patchouli, Cistus Labdanum, Benzoin, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

La Nuit De L’Homme and Elle Shocking Reviews

April 6, 2009

La Nuit De L’Homme is Yves Saint Laurent’s newest masculine, a permanent flanker to L’Homme. It is supposed to be a more seductive version of the original, and was created by the same perfumers. I must applaud YSL for naming Coumarin as one of the notes, at least the fragrance companies are getting braver by naming aromachemicals – Coumarin is the molecule that ‘smells’ from Tonka, and is usually synthesised in a lab.

lanuit1At first spray, you can tell it’s still related to L’Homme, with its light Orange note. It’s much more powdery, sweet and warm from the off.
The heart is soft Chocolate with a lightly spiced Cardamom, with a Lavender note somewhere in the mix, and a mishmash of floral notes – nothing leaps out, but they are present, as is a Cedar note.
The drydown is a cold metallic Iris-like dryness, with the strong powdery hay-like Tonka note and a Violet leaf smell which seems to be in everything lately.
It’s good altogether, but I won’t be investing in a bottle simply because I already have Dior Homme for the same purpose as La Nuit, and although La Nuit is louder and attention grabbing, Dior Homme is subtle and more refined.

Top: Cardamom, Bergamot, Floral Notes
Middle: Cedar, Lavender, Aromatic Notes
Base: Vetiver, Coumarin

Elle shocking is the third flanker for Elle. The previous were Elle Intense and Elle Eau Fraiche, last years summer edition. It is an Eau de Toilette concentration and is lighter than the original Eau de Parfum.

ellesThe opening is a light Citrus (must be the Mandarin) and potent berries smell (must be the Raspberry), quite sweet in comparison to the original.
The heart note of Peony is still present, giving it a semi-masculine quality, but it’s much less intense, as you’d expect.
The drydown of inky and slightly sour Vetiver note and Patchouli has been toned down. I can’t help but be reminded of Stella McCartney’s Stella and In Two fragrances when I smell Elle. “shocking” is not remotely shocking, instead a better behaved version of the original fragrance. They are certainly rushing out flankers to Elle, and the fragrance will be entirely exhausted of any possible flankers soon.

Top: Mandarin, Ginger, Peony
Middle: Freesia, Jasmine, Raspberry
Base: Musks, Patchouli, Cedar

Hilfiger Review

March 30, 2009

Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy and Tommy Girl set the bar pretty high for further releases, still selling well, yet none of the follow up scents have lasted particularly well. I remember the 10th anniversary editions being particularly dull. True Star Men smells like Aloe Vera juice that has gone bad. Hilfiger’s most recent release, “Hilfiger” is created to be a classic and American icon.

hilfigerThe opening notes are very familiar. Quite generic and like the “man smell” that is put into so many shaving foams and after shave balms. Perhaps this is intended to be familiar, so it sells? Who knows. Citrus with Rosemary, if I didn’t know better I’d think it was a new Hugo Boss.
A sharp Musk note (this must be the ‘Skin Accord’) creeps into the heart and overpowers the shy Rose note. It feels like an acidic and louder version of YSL L’Homme.
The Musky woody drydown doesn’t really grab my attention – it smells like a lot of other designer scents, and brings Versace Blue Jeans to mind, which itself smells of Matey bubble bath. I can’t help but think the desire for a long list of notes has left the scent confused and it ended up as a ‘fresh woody musk’ that consumer panels seem so fond of. There are tonnes of scents out there that do anything Hilfiger does better – for the bubble bath, go for the Blue Jeans, for the Citrus and Rosemary, try Eau Sauvage, for the ‘soft musk’ heart, try L’Homme.

Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Pink Grapefruit, Juniper, Papaya, Rosemary
Middle: Curcuma, Mahogany Wood, White Tea Rose, Skin Accord
Base: Suede, Sandalwood, Cistus, Tonka, Cashmere Wood

L’Homme Review

March 25, 2009

L’Homme was the first masculine release from YSL after the departure of Tom Ford. It was nowhere near as daring as M7 or Rive Gauche, and instead YSL decided to play it safe. YSL touted it as the fragrance of the modern man, and as YSL did so well, created an androgynous product – looks masculine, could be feminine. To make it more masculine, there was even a special “test tube” edition that looked quite phallic.

lhomme1L’Homme opens with a sweet, floral and almost feminine feeling burst of citrus, with a soft woody note. The citrus smells at first like Lemon. Then it becomes Orange. Then the first act is over in a matter of seconds, and the heart is apparent.
Soft Ginger (rather than rough like with Dior Homme Sport) adds an air of warmth to the fragrance. Then Cedar and a very quiet Pepper note create an aromatic aspect, with a tiny hint of Violet in the background – perpetually shy for fear of creating something too floral.
The drydown is soft, woodsy, with warm hay from Tonka and a grassy Vetiver. The Vetiver isn’t particularly earthy, it feels like all the dirt has been washed off. The sweetness from the Ginger is maintained into the drydown, as is it’s warmth. As a result, L’Homme is subtle enough for everyday use, but not standout enough for night. It’s still a very competent fragrance.

Top: Citron, Ginger, Ozone
Middle: White Pepper, Violet, Basil Flower
Base: Vetiver, Cedar, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood

Kenzo Tokyo Review

March 6, 2009

Kenzo’s masculines are always intriguing and at least , but they’ve never fared particularly well on the shelves in store. Pour Homme, L’eau Par, Air, all gone not long after appearing on shelf. Tokyo never even made it to my store, but lucky for me it was around in the local department stores. Tokyo was surprisingly inspired by the Japanese capital and it’s neon brightness.

tokyoTokyo opens with a citrus note that lasts for a fleeting moment, grapefruit with orange. As soon as that disappears, a sharp Licorice accord, which brings to mind Yohji Homme and Egoiste, is the main player. It is warmed by a small dose of Ginger. I find the spice notes very prominent.
The heart smells incredibly thick and dark, like a shadow of a huge tree hangs over it. At the same time, there is a light and bright feeling maintained throughout. This juxtaposition holds my interest every time. There is a pink pepper note, which I love in YSL’s Elle, and there is a Mint and an Anisic note – this could be ‘Shiso’, a Japanese plant that is a member of the mint family and apparently reminiscent of Fennel, which itself smells like Aniseed.
The drydown is creamy and woody, soft but thick, due to Gaiac, and still shadowy, with a Chocolate and crystallized Ginger accord hidden in the shadows.

Top: Grapefruit, Lemon, Bitter Orange, Ginger
Middle: Green Tea, Shiso, Maté, Pink Pepper
Base: Cedar, Clove, Nutmeg, Gaiac Wood

Hugo Element Review

March 5, 2009

Hugo Boss’s newest offering, Element, allegedly has ingredients that evoke the four elements. And is for an urban man that is in his element in the city. And has ripped it’s name from two old Boss fragrances, Elements and Elements Aqua. And explicitly names Calone as one of the notes, which is certainly interesting from a marketing point of view.

elementIt opens with that oh-so-familiar aquatic citrus accord that you find in many designer scents. Melony or cucumbery, with a hint of bitter Orange in the background. It smells clear, and is similar to the previous release, Boss Pure, except without the sour milky musk note. Also obviously related to Hugo XY, except not as ‘icy’ or cold, Energise, with it’s spicier warmth, and the original Hugo, as they are both ‘fresh’ with aromatic components in the background. This is probably so it’s familiar to the mainstream consumer.
Element moves quickly into the heart, which is a quiet spicy woodsy creature, Ginger creates warmth, while the Coriander brings a hint of sweetness. With the wood note supporting it, it’s very similar to YSL’s L’homme.
The drydown is a powdery Vetiver and Cedar skinscent that doesn’t project much. It’s incredibly faint and inoffensive, but it seems to last for an age, even if it doesn’t create much sillage.

Top: Calone, Citrus
Middle: Ginger, Coriander
Base: Vetiver, Cedar, Musk

Allure Homme Edition Blanche Review

February 28, 2009

Allure Homme Edition Blanche is the newest masculine offering from Chanel. The review also marks the end of the series of Chanel reviews. It’s my favourite “version” of Allure, because it reminds me of other fragrances I like.

editionblancheThe opening is a bright citrus accord – it smells quite high quality, compared to Allure Homme Sport Cologne or Givenchy Play, which have a plastic synthetic feel. Bergamot, Lemon, and Grapefruit, quite sharp and juicy. The Lemon does smell like Lemons, rather than cleaning products. Most recent fresh scents have a citrus note that continues for the duration of the fragrance, and I’m glad to say that it doesn’t last for hours in Edition Blanche.
The heart develops into a green Fig tree and leafy accord, very similar to Dune for men, but Chanel does it better. It feels really “wet”. There is also a similar feel to YSL’s L’homme with it’s softly spiced Pepper-Ginger-Cedar accord. And a slightly powdery, floral feeling note.
Dries down to a sweet Tonka and Vanilla, with a similar woody feel to the original Allure.

Top: Lemon, Bergamot
Middle: White Pepper, Pink Pepper, Ginger, Cedar
Base: Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, White Musks

Allure Homme Review

February 25, 2009

Allure Homme is the 4th masculine from Chanel. It was launched in 1999, and has since spawned 2 flankers. The fragrance allegedly enhances the natural allure of a man, and has a “great olfactory intensity”. I never really know who Allure is actually for.

allurehommeAllure opens to a bright pepper and fruit note. It doesn’t seem at all citrusy. If the fruit was just a touch louder, it wouldn’t feel at all masculine and would drift right into fruity floral territory. Luckily for Allure, Jacques Polge tempered the fruit with a pink pepper note, the same note that makes YSL Elle smell more masculine and confident.
The heart is warm and soft, with a real blended feel. There is a light, very clean and transparent Jasmine note (bye bye Indole). There is also an aquatic note in the heart. It’s present, but not overpowering. Perhaps it’s meant to represent dew on the flowers. More woody than it is floral, but a Rose note makes an appearance too.
The base is a warm musk, with clean wood notes. It’s so soft, clean and polite that it’s almost apologetic. Eventually it fizzles out to not much, and it hasn’t made much of an impression on me at all.

Top: Mandarin, Lemon, Peach, Bergamot
Middle: Pink Pepper, Coriander, Freesia, Geranium, Rose, Jasmine
Base: Cedar, Vetiver, Benzoin, Tonka, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Patchouli

Platinum Egoiste Review

February 23, 2009

Platinum Egoiste is the flanker to Egoiste. Launched in 1993 and still about today, probably because it’s so quiet and inoffensive. The “Platinum” part comes from an old French saying, “Qui a de la platine”, “He who has Platinum”, used to describe an eloquent man. Similar to saying someone has a silver tongue. Makes me think of Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne from the Witches of Eastwick. He’ll-say-anything-to-get-you-into-bed kinda guy.

platinumegoistePlatinum is round, smooth and, for lack of a better word, fresh. It’s not aquatic by any stretch of the imagination. The fragrance must have been copied into thousands of shower gels, because I can’t get the image out of my head. There is a light Orange note up top, followed by an aromatic-floral accord.
The muted fragrance develops slightly into a woods, but they have been given a very light, transparent touch. This is why you can tell this is a 90s fragrance, it’s so clear. Reminds me of YSL L’homme with it’s soft floral feel, but Platinum is fresher in character, which is where L’homme wins out for me. I just don’t get most fresh fragrances, especially when the volume is turned right down.
It feels as though Platinum “breaks apart” rather than moving smoothly between stages. There is a softness in the drydown that reminds me of Burberry Touch, but without the violet leaves. The base is a slightly sour, powdery vetiver, again with the light feel.

Top: Lavender, Rosemary, Petitgrain, Neroli
Middle: Clary Sage, Geranium, Galbanum, Jasmine
Base: Oakmoss, Vetiver, Cedar, Cistus Labdanum