Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parfum d'Empire - Iskander

It is HOT outside! The temperature has been reaching 110 where I live, and it's been severely changing my choice of fragrance. While rummaging through citrus samples I stumbled upon my sample of Iskander. Thank heaven I did!

Iskander is a men's fragrance from Parfum d'Empire, an exquisite niche company that can be found on various online stores. It contains notes of citron, mandarin, grapefruit, estragon, coriander, orange blossom, oakmoss, amber, and musk. If that doesn't sound juicy enough, read on.

Parfum d'Empire likes to tell fragrant stories of old empires through their perfumes, and though not all of their perfumes follow suit, Iskander is one of their tributes. Iskander is an homage to Alexander the Great. The cologne is every bit as virile, assertive and unpredictable as the ancient Greek commander.

The opening is ripe and juicy with a citrus brigade launching mandarin orange and lemon notes, with a very subtle grapefruit tinge. A depth of character is supplied by tarragon and coriander, and dries down very cleanly with a warm base of oakmoss and amber. There is also musk in the base, but my nose can't smell most musks so I won't even try to write about it. The amber is very noticeable in the drydown, but what's really special about the drydown is that the citrus notes from the beginning carry through to it.

Iskander has amazing longevity. It is one of those rare citrus colognes that can boast that merit. The citrus notes are long lasting and don't fleetingly vanish off the top like a lot of scents you'll find. And it smells oh so good in hot weather. Iskander is very versatile and would fit well in the office and on the field. It is classy and luxurious, fresh and warm - very much in the same vein as L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme. Beautiful bottle too, as with all PdE scents. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Sorry for the dead era guys, just started a new job and I've been working a crap ton.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bvlgari Aqva

In the genre of aquatics, Bvlgari Aqva is a horse of a different color.

I am tempted almost to classify it as an oriental due to how thick it is. This is the most robust aquatic scent I've smelled. Perhaps more fitting as an evening scent, though I used to wear Aqva during the day as girls gave me compliments.

My problem with it is that it is too much. Too crowded. Aqva has intense marine notes against floral and fruity notes and spicy pepper notes and an amber/sage base. The marine is very interesting - it is salty and sour, the way these kinds of scents SHOULD smell. But some days I love the way the notes work with the floral and base notes, and other days I hate it.

Aqva, interestingly, is a moody fragrance. Most aquatics are light and fresh - this is somewhat fresh but a dark character. It is well suited to rainy days in summer, especially in Japan. But you could wear it anytime. As far as its babe-factor, all of my girl friends love it. It stands to reason, I suppose, given the Twilight Edward Cullen obsession.

Bvlgari Aqva's staying power is solid. Lasts a good 6 to 8 hours.

It can be found cheap at online retailers, which is another plus.

If I had to relate it to a song, it'd be Chopin's Ocean Etude in the video above. Throw this on your ipod and take a walk on a rainy midnight, wearing three good sprays of Aqva and perhaps a peacoat. Listen, breathe, experience the beautiful surreal effect.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hermessence: Vetiver Tonka

Hermessence is a little line by Hermes. Throw a mental accento above the second "e" there, I'm not well suited to that sort of thing on a computer. :)

Vetiver Tonka is composed of vetiver and tonka. Boy, what would you do without my guidance?

Only kidding. There is more to it than that, but those two notes stick out far beyond the others.

Upon smelling this you will immediately get smacked with tonka, vetiver, and neroli- in that order. This is in my opinion a good, tolerable smack as it is not overly complicated like many common designer scents can often be. Vetiver and tonka are two notes which suit eachother very nicely. The neroli is honestly barely noticeable next to them.

The scent stays fairly linear throughout its GREAT longevity - and I do mean great. As it dries down you may catch a hint of hazelnut if you have a keen, matured nose. I have to really focus on it to pick it up.

Vetiver Tonka has a great zing to it and is mostly a masculine scent to my nose. Vetiver is just one of those notes that resonates masculinity to me. If this type of scent is up your alley, you should check out Andy Tauer's Vetiver Dance. VT is like a very simple version of VD.

I will say this is not a scent which has scored high with the opposite sex. Not like it matters ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two new Serge Lutens

There are two new interesting sounding Serge Lutens perfume releases coming!

A new "Haute Concentration" perfume, Fille en Aiguilles (Girl in Heels), will be added to the line. Fille en Aiguilles contains notes of pine needles (an interesting play on its name, which directly translated means Girl in Needles), vetiver, fruits and incense. Perhaps the vetiver detracts from its feminine name and forecast it as being a unisex perfume like the vast majority of his line. Here's hoping!

The second new release is called Fourreau Noir, which will be an addition to the exclusive line (sadly!). I hope that at its initial release Lutens releases it internationally as well, even if for a limited time. Fourreau Noir translates to "Black Sheath" (as of a sword) and is a dark, silky and slightly smoky blend containing notes of almond, tonka bean, and lavander. Sweet! Sounds luscious.

Release date unknown as of yet.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bvlgari Black

Black is one of Bvlgari's more interesting fragrances. It's supposed to have some weird sort of composition technique called an "olfactive block" which reveals all the notes to you immediately. Before I analyzed this I never really got it, but now I understand. It's more a technique that flattens out the fragrance so that there is not such a radical progression to it from top to bottom.

I first fell in love with this one a year and a half ago when I was working at Abercrombie and Fitch. The biggest factor in my loving it, funnily enough, was a hot as hell coworker who I let smell a test strip I'd picked up of it. She went nuts at the smell of it, even amidst all the Fierce that we'd sprayed on the mannequins. I was sold.

As it begins, Bvlgari Black you in the face with a bergamot, tea, and sandalwood. I have to say I am not sure what to think about the bergamot, it seems so out of its element but at the same time makes the cologne that much more interesting. Not more than fifteen minutes later, a light cedar underpins this opening accord in conjunction with leather which shows up a little after that. This must be what creates Black's smokey accord. It is nice, but can be overbearing if applied too liberally.

A sweet vanilla and subtle amber base come to life not more than thirty minutes into the fragrance. The character of Black comes from its smokey vanilla quality. A dark, sweet cologne.

There is a lot of talk about Black eliciting a rubber accord. I think most people make this association purely due to the bottle having a rubber rim. The bottle is an odd shape and used to have a strange on-off spray mechanism reminiscent of cleaning products, but it's been changed to a regular cologne sprayer we are so used to seeing.

Bvlgari Black is fairly long lasting and can be worn easily by both sexes. It is more of a night scent, not well suited to warm weather due to the leather, cedar, vanilla, sandalwood and amber notes.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Serge Lutens - Rousse

Rousse is a relatively tame scent from Serge Lutens that would smell like it was concocted by another house if it weren't for the signature "Lutens accord" in the base. It opens with a blast of cinnamon and orange, undertoned by a very slight aromatic cedar. The opening is a little irritatingly sharp and smells a good deal like red hot candies. I'm not usually one for reducing fragrances to immature negative comparisons in an attempt to demean the fragrance, but it is strong here.

After an hour this connotation has escaped the scent thank goodness, and what remains is a not-so-orange heart of cinnamon, cedar, and SOFT nutmeg. As it leaves this phase, the cedar falls into the background, allowing the nutmeg to take a more prominent role while the perfume blends into a lush amber and vanilla drydown over time. Quick though the oranges go, this is not a quick to vanish perfume and has moderate projection.

This sweet, gourmand perfume turns out very nicely after the red hot candy opening is done with, and would work well on both men and women and in all seasons.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Neil Morris - Midnight Sea

Notes courtesy of - Water lily, vanilla, patchouli, dark musk, ozone

This is a very evocative scent. It doesn't exactly smell like the sea at night, but it is somehow reminiscent of it. Neil got that salty sea scent down.

Midnight Sea is very patchouli heavy and that is one of my criticisms of it. It dominates the scent throughout all of its life. This is interesting in the beginning, but gets old at the end - especially as the fragrance loses the lovely salty quality it had in the beginning. (my other criticism)

The fragrance's sillage and longevity are paramount. Not even A*Men can compare. This is a good thing. Recommended for the sample fiends like myself out there!

For an especially transportive experience, throw Chopin's "Ocean Etude" on your ipod and go for a walk at midnight while wearing this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Creed - Himalaya

According to Creed's website, Himalaya contains notes of Grapefruit, Bergamot, Mandarin, Lemon, Cedar, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Musk, and Ambergris.

Himalaya is one of those dualities which are both hot and cold - and these come few and far between. It has a cold, almost metallic feel to the top, buffered by a warm, musky base. It is complex, classy, confident - fresh, and yet rich and subtly woody. It calls to mind the fougere genre, but Creed does not list it as having oakmoss or lavender in the mix.

If you've never smelled ambergris before, sniffing Himalaya will suffice. The ambergris is dominant and amazing. Ambergris is reminiscent of the scent of the beach to me, and smelling the many different types of beach-animal feces. Don't worry, it's a good scent.

The combination of its fruity/citrus opening and its aromatic cedar/pepper heart accords is very refreshing and at the same time warm. Himalaya goes under the radar after 5 hours and then becomes more of a skin scent - one which is still noticeable to others and garners compliments. Still, it could do with just a little more longevity.

Himalaya works very well as both a warm and cool weather scent, but you could pick a more interesting scent for the hottest summer days and the coldest winter days.

Women love this out of the bottle, and love it more on your skin. Perfect!

Himalaya gets a 9/10 due to longevity.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ideal wardrobe!

Right now I'm working on making extra money in my spare time. Most of this stuff is gonna get saved, but every once in a while, some of it is gonna get splurged on a new fragrance for my wardrobe ;) I enjoy most of what I have currently, some of my frags I have grown out of or just plain grown tired of. Here's what my current ideal wardrobe would be. A little about me, first- I'm a 21 year old male. I'm thinking two or three for spring/summer, and three or four for fall/winter.

Spring/summer: Chanel Allure Homme Sport (2004), Creed [Himalaya or Erolfa or Original Vetiver], Chanel Platinum Egoiste.

Fall/winter: Gucci Pour Homme (2003), Gucci Envy, Parfum d'Empire Fougere Bengale, Serge Lutens Daim Blond.

Items in red I have yet to acquire. I'm also loving Montale Black Aoud and Tann Rokka Kisu enough to throw them in, but I try to keep it as small as possible. Allure Sport, Himalaya and Envy work perfectly for me in all seasons, and I'm leaning more towards Erolfa than Himalaya at this point. But it's been a while since I've smelled it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Hi. Welcome to The Cologne Place. Here you'll find all things related to cologne, the bulk of which being men's cologne reviews. I am enthralled by the fragrance world and love smelling all sorts of things, including things I don't like - for whatever reason ;)

My passion for sniffing many various fragrances, as well as my desire to share my knowledge with others, has driven me to bring this place to life.

I also like photography, singing opera, and frisbee.

I hope you find the content of this place valuable.