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The Future of Valentino Uomo

In the first quarter of 2014 Valentino released Valentino Uomo.  It is not the company’s first venture into men’s fragrances but it may as well be as the company stayed out of the market for over 20 years after the release of Valentino Vendetta Uomo in 1991.

Many fragrance experts consider Valentino Uomo to be Olivier Polge‘s fresh revisit of the iconic Dior Homme.  Some experts even speculate that Valentino’s objective with this fragrance was to create a men’s scent that will emulate the success of Dior Homme.  Maybe it is no coincidence then why Valentino approach Polge to do for them what he did for Dior.

dior-homme-fragrance

Indeed, Valention Uomo is a scent well positioned to turn into a classic: it avoids men’s fragrance cliches, which makes it appealing to the connoisseurs and at the same time, it is mainstream enough to appeal to the mass market.

The release of Valentino Uomo was backed by a solid marketing campaign and the fragrance community has largely given it thumbs-up.  Positive response from the European market has likely urged the company to speed up its release in North America.

Without having seen the sales numbers, it is likely that Valentino Uomo is doing great.  The positive sales results would likely push Valentino to broaden its distribution from high-end retailers to middle-level ones.  This tactic would be largely motivated by an attempt to capitalize on its initial success and maximize revenues.

Valentino Uomo Bottle Book

Now that Valentino has a hit fragrance on its hands, the question is what to do next.  The answer is simpler than it seems.

If you have followed the development of iconic men’s fragrances, you’ll notice that more or less, designers follow the same pattern: release an intense and sports version and then multitude of other flankers as necessary.

Take a look at what Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier did.  After the initial success of Dior Homme and Le Male, both companies went on a fragrance frenzy ( Gaultier more than Dior but that hardly matters). Dior released Dior Homme Intense, which was followed up by Dior Homme Sport and just recently released Dior Homme Eau for Men. Similarly, Gaultier went berserk and is popping Gaultier flankers twice a year.

Le Male 2014

Valentino is likely to follow the same tactic: after Uomo proves to be a hit, which I am confident it will, the company will start releasing flankers.

Valentino Uomo Intense

Valentino Uomo is a fragrance with a medium sillage and longevity.  It works well for day and night.  Therefore, the first remake would likely be an intense version.  The thinking might be that the guy who wears Uomo during the day, may need something with more presence during the night.  Voila! You have Valentino Uomo Intense.

Valentino Uomo Bottle 2

Valentino Uomo Intense would likely have stronger opening – maybe more citrus for an initial wow factor and a heavier, longer-lasting heart.  The chocolate and coffee may be turned up to give the scent more presence and make it sweeter.  For a good measure, Intense may also feature tonka bean, amber or musk in the drydown.  The leather note would probably stay in the background as its strong presence may take away from its mainstream appeal.

Valentino Uomo Sport

The sweetness of the original Valentino Uomo makes it more appealing for the colder months.  To capture the summer scent market, Valentino would likely release a lighter version of the original. It may be called either Sport or some sort of Eau or Aqua (Valentino Uomo Sport, Valentino Uomo Aqua, Aqua di Valentino Uomo, etc.).

Valentino Uomo Sport would have amped up citrus.  The bergamot note may be aided by some neroli or zesty lemon.  The myrtle may stay there but probably would be less prominent.  The chocolate and coffee would be toned down and the leather may appear a little more but in its suede form.  The drydown would likely be a predictable cedar and likely white musk to add longevity.  We may even get something with calones in it to give it a more fresh-aquatic feel.

Once these two mandatory flankers are out of the way, what Valentino would do is really up to anyone’s imagination.  They may follow Gaultier’s and Miyake’s route and pop flankers at least once a year, or they may create something new.  They would have to carefully balance the trade-off between brand image and market capitalization.  You go too wild with your flankers, over-saturate the market and your brand image plummets (Gaultier fragrances hardly hold the status the Gaultier fashion line. After all, even deep discount basement retailers sell the originals for less than $50).  You stay too restrictive with distribution and releases and you become dated and irrelevant.

valentino-uomo-Poster

Ultimately, Valentino would have to decide what role they want to play in the fragrance market.  My advice would be sell their fragrance like they sell their shoes: keep top quality and tight distribution.   After all, those bottles carry the Valentino name.

Related on the Topic

What’s Hot Right Now: Valentino Uomo

Perfume Flankers and Why They Make a Good Business Sense

What Makes Perfume a Classic?

 

 

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Torre of Tuscany Colonia Toscana Review

Notes

Orange, Lime, Lemon, Neroli, Jasmine, Musk

The Short Story

Excellent citrus.

The Long Story

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When I first started exploring fragrances, I was going after all those complex, bigger-than-life scents that could make your head spin.  I thought simple scent were boring and lacking creativity.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  There is an innate beauty in a simple fragrance: the type that is just it and does not seek to be anything more than that.  Part of its beauty is in its humility and lack of pretense.

It takes quite a bit of mastery to create a simple fragrance that is simply beautiful. In these simple fragrances is where the high quality of the ingredients and the mastery of the perfumer becomes evident.

Colonia Toscana by Torre of Tuscany is such a fragrance.  Colonia Toscana is simple and simply beautiful.  It relies on the naturally beautiful smell of high quality orange and neroli to shine.  Just like cooking, when you start with good quality ingredients, the meal always taste better even if the recipe is not that great.

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Colonia Toscana opens with a sweet orange to which lemon and lime notes add a little extra zing.  As it develops, white florals, mainly neroli and jasmine, chime in.  The perfume doesn’t develop much beyond this point.  This is quite alright because, really, you wouldn’t want it to do much else besides smelling great.

Colonia Toscana has a definite masculine bend.  It is not the over-dominant type of masculine in the form of Le Male.  It is a fragrance for the gentleman: a guy with good taste and good upbringing to know that repelling human and living creatures with your cologne is vulgar.

That gentleman smells good for himself.  He wears cologne so that he can enjoy it and therefore, he chooses Colonia Toscana.  It has strong enough sillage for him to smell it but it is polite enough not to waft through the room. It is strong enough to last on his skin the whole day but moderate enough, so that at the end of the day, there is only a small trail of it lingering on his shirt.

Colonia Toscana is what citrus fragrances for men should smell like. It is made for gentlemen of pedigree and if you are one, you should wear it.

Carner Barcelona Logo

Carner Barcelona

At times, the more I smell, the more desperate I become for something different.  The sameness seems to drag like an endless grey day when the only hope for salvation from the misery is the fall of the night.

Occasionally, however, on a lucky day, the miracle happens: I come across a rare gem, totally pristine, untouched by corporate hands; a perfume house living the art of perfumery the way it should be lived. It comes from a place unknown for fine perfumery and gives the fragrance capitals a harsh lesson in authenticity, creativity and humility.  Without an air of haughtiness, it deliver beauty, sophistication and joy.  The gem I was fortunate to find is Carner Barcelona.

Carner Barcelona Lineup

Carner Barcelona is a small niche perfume house based in Barcelona, Spain.  It was founded in 2009 by Sara Carner. The vision behind the line was to create fragrances that not only smell unique but also that “evoke memories, share experiences and transmit emotions”.

Sara CarnerTo achieve her vision, Sara Carner worked with the perfumers Sonia Constant, Christophe Raynaud and Daniela (Roche) Andrier.  Together, they created four unique fragrances: Cuirs, D600, Rima XI and Tardes.

Each one is quite different and similar at the same time.  All four scents share a signature wood note and carry an understated elegance and nonchalant presence.  They are contained in minimalist design bottles, which very much reflect the vibe of the scents.

Cuirs

CuirsSara comes from a family with strong traditions in the leather industry in Barcelona. Cuirs is a dedication to her heritage and celebrates the craftsmanship in creating fine leather products.

As Sara says, creating a great perfume follows the same principles as creating a great piece of leather product: high quality ingredients and careful attention to detail make all the difference.

Cuirs is a raw leather fragrance that opens with cumin and saffron.  Off the top, it reminds me of Tom Ford‘s Oud Wood.  Unlike in Oud Wood, the oud note is much subtler in Cuirs and is not the centre of attention.  Cuirs also lacks the sweetness Oud Wood has.  It is a much drier, more bitter fragrance, balanced with gentle wood accords.

Cuirs, as suggested by the name, is leather-centric.  It recreates the experience of being in a leather shop, where you have the aromas of raw leather and wood mixed together.

What makes Cuirs different than many other leather fragrances is the balance of the composition.  Raw leather is predominant but it is well balanced by wood and spices.  It is much more refined and wearable than some of the more popular raw leather fragrances on the market.

D600

D600-Carner Barcelona

D600 is dedicated to modern Barcelona. It represents the modern lifestyle in a historic city.

The name of the perfume, D600, is very modernistic itself.  It stands for the address of Carner Barcelona: Avenida Diagonal 600.  My research shows that it is a prime location, right next to Plaça de Francesc Macià.

D600 is the scent I like the least from the line.  Nevertheless, it is composed masterfully.  I get a vibe of a classic men’s perfume (maybe the cardamom and iris?) and something cosmopolitan.

From the very beginning I get soft spices and iris.  Cardamom and iris are the main characters here.  As it dries down, the iris becomes more powdery and soapy.  It doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients but it is definitely present throughout the life of the scent.

Certain aspects of D600 remind me Chanel‘s Bois des Iles but in this composition, the iris is not as pronounced. Overall, D600 is a soft composition with a definitely masculine lean.

Rima XI

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It is “an intense floral spicy perfume that evokes the seductive, defiant, inaccessible”.  Rima XI refers to a rhyme by the Spanish poet G.A. Becquer:

“…Yo soy un sueño, un imposible,
vano fantasma de niebla y luz;
soy incorpórea, soy intangible;
no puedo amarte.
- ¡Oh, ven, ven tú!”

“…- I am a dream, an impossible;
vain ghost of mist and light;
I am bodiless, I am untouchable;
I cannot love you.
- Oh, come,  you come!”

Rima XI is the most unique scent of Carner’s collection.  It is hard to describe and compare to anything else on the market. Rima XI definitely has a floral-spicy vibe.  It is a mix of feminine and masculine qualities making it a definitely a unisex fragrance.

The duality of Rima XI is created by mixing spicy notes typical for masculine scents (cardamom, black pepper, mint), which are juxtaposed by traditionally feminine notes: cinnamon, vanilla, jasmine, sambac.  The result is something truly unique, which is best to try than read about.

Tardes

Tardes-Carner Barcelona

Tardes defines beauty in feminine fragrance for me. It starts with intoxicating Bulgarian rose, geranium and almond, which possess a very sheer quality.  As notes, rose and almond can be very heavy and sweet.  As they are used here, however, they recreate the environment around almond trees in a rose field.

Tardes sweetens up a little with notes of plum, tonka beans and musk, however, the overall composition remains determinately floral.

Before smelling it, just by reading the description, I imagined Tardes to be more of a citrus-based fragrance.  Something you would smell in a Mediterranean garden after you have taken a 2-hour siesta. Instead, I got a gorgeous floral, which, unfortunately, may be too feminine for me to wear.

Tardes evokes emotions of happiness and feel-good mood.  It achieves it without trying too hard and without being cliche or tacky. It is nonchalant, not boastful about it.  It is as casual as a late afternoon stroll down the main street of a small seaside village.  The warm air is cooled by a soft breeze and the only way you can feel in that moment is content and full of exciting expectations for the evening to come – great food and wine with friends and family.  Absolutely gorgeous. Congratulations, Sara Carner, you have created a masterpiece.

I invite you explore Carner Barcelona’s line up and if you have already shared some of the fragrances, please share your thoughts. It is rare to come across a line with all solid fragrances. I am definitely looking forward to more great work from Sara Carner.

 What Others Say about Carner Barcelona:

Chemist in the Bottle: Craftsmanship, Carner Barcelona Cuirs

Chemist in the Bottle: Lazy Afternoon, Carner Barcelona Tardes

Olfactoria’s Travels: A Ghost Poetic – Review: Carner Barcelona Rima XI 

Bonkers about Perfume: Carner Barcelona Rima XI Review

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Tom Daxon Sicilian Wood Review

Notes

Lemon, Tangerine, Cardamom, Lilly of the Valley, Gaiac Wood, Amber, Cedar, Vanilla

The Short Story

Very polite woods.

The Long Story

sicilian_wood-bottle-boxTom Daxon‘s Sicilian Wood is like the German trains: pleasant, safe and predictable.  While these are good qualities of a train service, they are not necessarily the best attributes of a fragrance.

Starting from the name, the fragrance itself is what it says on the bottle.  It opens with sweet lemon and tangerine (typical for Sicily) and then it develops in light velvety woods (hence Sicilian Wood).

Sicilian Wood is blended masterfully – from the fresh citrus and cardamom on the top, smoothly the scent transitions into soft woods and then dries down into sweet amber spiked up by a sharper cedar note.  It’s a great execution but it fails to excite me and capture my imagination.  I would have loved for Sicilian Wood to transport me to Sicily, however, the only place it takes me to is a meeting room full of architects poring over blueprints.

TOMDAXON_Sicilian-Wood

I find Sicilian Wood very similar in its character to Zegna Uomo. It is very restrained, predictable and polite.  It almost feels like being on a date with someone who hits all the checks on your list but is utterly unexciting. You can have a good life together but you won’t be living.

Overall, if you find a train on schedule exciting, you’ll love Sicilian Wood.  Otherwise, save your money for something with more character.

Xerjoff-Kobe-Bottle-Satchel

Xerjoff Kobe Review

Notes

Orange, Bergamot, Neroli, Benzoin, Styrax, Resins, Musk

The Short Story

Dry citrus in a wooden box.

The Long Story

Umberto was sitting at his wooden desk peering through the half open French window.  The noise from the busy Calle de Serrano was trickling through the crack along with the bright rays of sun.

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It was mid morning on the day after his 65th birthday and Umberto was already bored with the day.  He had no particular plans, no particular place to be, no particular things to do.  Therefore, he just sat at his desk looking out of the window the throngs of people chattering and mulling around.

Umberto propped his chin on his palm and thought of lunch.  Maybe he could stroll down to O Mamma Mia and get a slice of pizza with some red wine. He wasn’t a regular there but the owner knew him.  He was one of the few distinguished gentlemen to stop by for a quick bite that took no less than a couple of hours.

What made Umberto stand out was his presence of nonchalant elegance exuberating from his vintage coat, wide open shirt and characteristic smell of citrus and resin.

Xerjoff-Kobe-BottleThe latter formed sort of an aura around Umberto, which slowly developed throughout the day.  In the morning when he first applied a few sprays on his chest,  bright citrus filled up the room.  This wasn’t the kind of citrus the young men would wear – happy and fleeting, the kind that makes you want to skip.  The citrus in Umberto’s Kobe was heavier, weighed down, as if full of a lifetime of experiences, memories, unforgettable moments of happiness and past regrets.

As Umberto was going through his regular morning routine – boiling his two eggs and sipping his bitter coffee – the dry citrus was slowly turning into a dry resinous wood. The sharp notes of the citrus were still lingering around but dry woods filled up the air around Umberto.

Xerjoff-Kobe-Bottle-Satchel

He knew each stage of his fragrance by heart and the one where the dry woody notes emerged was his favourite.  It reminded him of the smell of the dry wooden box his grandpa gave him as a kid.  It was a gift for his 7th birthday.  Umberto kept dry oranges and lemons in it and loved the smell of wood mixed with the tarty smell of the dried fruit.

Xerjoff-kobe-satchelUmberto enjoyed this smell during most of the day.  It was his best friend now that he was all alone in this world.  Xerjoff’s Kobe was bringing back fond memories of his childhood at his grandpa’s house.

By the time of his evening stroll through the park around Lazaro Galdiano, Umberto could detect the faint smell of light musk sticking to the collar of his shirt.  These were the final fleeting moments of his faithful companion Kobe.  What consoled Umberto was that tomorrow morning, they will meet again when Kobe would greet his with its bright citrus weighed down by memories of days gone by.

Gucci Lineup

3 Rules for Choosing a Fragrance

Picking the right fragrance is tricky.  Overloaded perfume counters and cheeky sales associates don’t make things any easier. So, here are three simple rules to picking a scent without a buyer’s remorse.

Rule #1: Decide where you would wear it

Perfume is like clothes. You choose it for an occasion.  Would it be a casual scent to wear on a Sunday brunch; something with more presence for a night out; or a formal cologne for an evening gala?  Just like you would pick a shirt, so should you pick your fragrance.

FragranceLineup

Perfume evokes emotions. Therefore, you need to have an idea where you would wear the fragrance and how you would like to feel at that given time.

Some would argue: “yeah, that’s fine but you have plenty of universal scents that work for any occasion.”

Sure, you also have universal clothes that would work for any occasion.  You probably wouldn’t want to look sort of dressy at an award ceremony at the White House with your polo shirt or sort of casual at an amusement park with your everyday suit.  The same is true for fragrance: a universal fragrance would work for any occasion but the right one would make your experience so much better.

Rule #2: Test drive it

FragranceSamplesMost fragrances evolve over time. Generally speaking, perfumes have top, middle and base notes that smell differently and add subtle (or not so subtle) nuances to the scent.  You wouldn’t really know how a fragrance develops until you give it a full day’s wear, so you can experience it top to bottom.

Test driving your perfume is more important now more than ever. Many mass-marketed fragrances are top-loaded.  Due to budget constraints the companies use the highest quality ingredients for the top notes and the cheaper synthetics in the middle and base notes.  

This technique works because most consumers spray the fragrance in the store, like how it smells in the first 10 minutes and buy it.  After they give it a full day’s wear do they find out that the gorgeous opening is followed by a sour musk or a sharp cedar note.  Don’t believe me? Try Bond No 9 Coney Island: it opens with a great melon note and then it turns into a sour musk.  A total scrubber.

Rule #3: Always buy it for yourself

Once a sales associate was trying to convince me that I should buy a cologne that the ladies like.  She had her own recommendations, of course, none of which were half-decent.

You buy your perfume for yourself.  You are going to wear and live with it for the next 8 hours after you spray it.  It’s not worth it to put up with some abomination just for the blind chance of getting a complement from a hot girl or a guy.  Just smelling appealing to someone won’t get you laid.  Having the confidence to wear what you truly like without giving a fuck what they think, would.  Think of it this way: confidence is sexy; eagerness to please is not.

Men-Holding-Bottle

Not sure where to start? Read this blog (yes, shameless self-promotion) and the blogs of many others who spend hours discovering and writing about great scents.  The Scented Hound, Chemist in the Bottle,  and The Candy Perfume Boy are some of my favourite.

Also check out Basenotes – the largest fragrance forum to-date. There are tons of great people on there who know fragrance and would love to give you good recommendations.  The best part about them? They are honest and don’t have a secret agenda.  Something we cannot say for the sales assistants at most department stores.

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What’s Hot Right Now: Valentino Uomo

Valentino-Uomo-Perfume-Profumo-558x350I think I need to get a restraining order against Valentino Uomo.  Not that I really would but everywhere I turn I read about it. The hype this time, though, doesn’t come from a persistent marketing campaign Valentino‘s or Puig‘s (the company that created the fragrance) folks started but from independent reviewers.

Valentino Uomo is rumoured to smell similar to Dior Homme – also created by Olivier Polge.  That comparison on its own is a compliment.  It’s like saying that you look like Ryan Reynolds, even though in the world of fragrance originality is valued more than similarity…even if it is to something good.

So, what’s so special about Valentino Uomo?  Well, to be honest, I don’t know…yet. It recently got released in Europe and is not coming to North America until 2015.  Here’s what’s in it:

 Bergamot, Myrtle Liquor, Gianduja Cream, Coffee, Cedar, White Leather

Valentino Uomo was created to be a modern classic – something that embodies the Italian sprezzatura or effortless elegance.

Valentino Uomo Man

The promotional video (see here) perfectly depicts the idea of a modern classic by showing the a love escapade of  young modern man living in a very classic environment.  I get a very European vibe from all the promo materials, which gets me excited to try the actual juice.

valentino-uomo-Poster

So, what do those that have tried have to say about it:

Thomas from The Candy Perfume Boy gives it a raving review on Escentual.com (read here).  He calls it a “seriously good stuff” that depicts the “effortless Italian style”.

The Grooming Guru loves the bottle (read here).

GQ UK has featured it as “Fragrance of the Week” for the week of January 21, 2014 (read here).

Now, what’s left is to try Valentino Uomo and find out if it lives up to the expectation.

 

 

 

Xerjoff-Kobe-Box

Xerjoff Shooting Stars Nio Review

Notes

Neroli, Bergamot, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Jasmine, Vetiver, Cedar, Amber

The Short Story

Beautiful citrus with no soul.

The Long Story

nioIf you have ever been on a date with no personality, you would know what Nio is like.  It is a fragrance made with high quality ingredients blended in a masterful way.  Yet, it fails to be more than just a citrus fragrance.

Nio is an exercise in perfection where the technical skills of the perfumer are being tested. It is as if he was told to avoid any creativity and just create a citrus fragrance.

Nio opens with fresh neroli and green notes. It is sparkling, zesty, exhilarating. The lack of any depth of this opening forebodes a fairly airy development.  Indeed, Nio grows into a jasmine nuanced woody scent. It is quite pleasant but it would hardly make you curl your toes with pleasure.

Generally, I love citrus fragrances. They evoke memories of happy places – sunny countryside, breezy beaches, sun-drenched gardens. When I was testing Nio, though, I didn’t get to experience any of these places. I could definitely appreciate the quality of the scent but it was as if its soul was missing.

Nio definitely makes my list of citrus fragrances to recommend, after all, it is a technically superb citrus, but I wouldn’t wear it myself.  Unfortunately, this porcelain beauty doesn’t move me.

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Trussardi Uomo 2011Review

Notes

Galbanum, nutmeg, lemon, violet leaf, clary sage, patchouli, leather, oak moss

The Short Story

Failed Italianity.

The Long Story

Trussardi-Uomo-2011Trussardi Uomo 2011 is a harsh, slapped together fragrance made on the cheap. It has nothing to do with the original and even less with “Italianity” ( a term made up by the marketing team).

Trussardi is an Italian company renowned for making high quality fashion leather products. It was founded in 1911 by Dante Trussardi. Dante made it big by making very sought-after leather gloves. Banking on his glove success, Dante developed a whole range of leather products.  Today, the Trussardi Group continues to make fashion leather products and, as is customary for most designer lines, it also offers a range of fragrances.  The idea often is the fragrances to compliment the lifestyle inspired by the fashion line.

Trussardi’s fragrances have always been percolating in the fragrance space but have never been particularly popular with one exception. In 1983, the company released Trussardi Uomo.  It was a signature leather fragrance designed very much in the 80′s style.  Its raw leather vibe quickly became a symbol of masculinity and an ambassador of the brand.

trussardi-uomo Original

As the 80′s passed and the fragrance taste changed to lighted colognes, Trussardi Uomo‘s sales declined.  At some point, someone from a corner office decided to pull the plug.

In 2011, likely another or maybe the same someone decided to resurrect Uomo but in a slightly different format.  The fragrance was again to symbolize Trussardi’s Italian heritage and represent its lifestyle of rugged masculinity and non-conformism.

This time around, however, things were different. The Trussardi Group was after the money, so it had to release a scent with wide appeal. Ditching completely the original, the company released a reformulated Trussardi Uomo.  This is the one you will find on the fragrance counter nowadays.

Trussardi Uomo 2011-2

Trussardi says Uomo represents “Italianity”.  I understand Italianity as the Italian lifestyle as presented and interpreted by Trussardi. What I find interesting about the whole Italianity thing is that it looks like a desperate attempt to bank on the cache of Italy as a fashion capital.  It is not unlike Pierre Cardin, another once glorious brand on the decline, splattering the Eiffel Tower on its shirts hoping to get some nods of approval for being French.  If you can’t stand on your own merits, then you hope to stand on the merits of others by association.

Regardless of the motives behind the Italianity inspiration, the question then is, does Trussardi Uomo represent the Italian lifestyle? Well, yes, maybe some form of it.  The form you find on the flee markets in some countries where gypsies sell cheap replicas of Italian soccer jerseys, designer bags with misspelled names, and of course, knock-off fragrances. The sweetly cheap smell of Uomo reminds me of these places.  If this is the Italianity Trussardi had in mind, then Uomo does a great job.  If it tries to represent, impeccable style, rich culture and heritage, then it fails miserably.

Overall, Trussardi Uomo is a failed attempt to have a second go at a past glory.  A word of advice to the Trussardi folks: ditch the imitation and bring back the original.  We all loved it.

Fueguia

Fueguia 1833 Ballena de la Pampa Review

Notes

Musks, Hay, Ambergris

The Short Story

A moment of bliss.

The Long Story

Ballena_de_la_pampaI’m lying in the dry grass, the scorching sun kissing my face.  The light breeze is caressing my body and the dry grass is tickling my arms and legs.  The sweet aroma of hay and parched meadow flowers is wafting through the air.

Tranquility is all I am feeling at the moment.  I am in a state of bliss, thousands of miles away from the hectic pace of this world.  I don’t have a thought of worry in my head.  It is just me in the field enwrapped by sheer serenity.

I can lie here forever; absorbing the sun, the smells and the sensations of everything around me.  I lose track of time. The past and the future do not exist.  All that matter right now is the present: me lying here in the dry field surrounded by the warm sweet aroma in the hot air.

Pampas

I keep my eyes closed and inhale deeply.  The smell of warm sea is coming from somewhere.  The shore must be near but I don’t hear the waves.  I breathe in again trying to figure out where the sea breeze is coming from.  It is everywhere around me, mixed with the sweet smell of dry hay.  Where it comes from doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I am here now and that nothing can take me away from here.

I imagine I am a whale.  I am lying here in the dry pampas and the smell of sea is coming from me.  Even though I am a whale, I don’t gasp and I breathe the dry air deeply.  It relaxes me.  Somewhere in the distance I hear the gentle buzzing of bumble bees and the chirping of crickets.  The sounds around me keep a rhythm.  It is the same as the beat of my heart, even though I am pretty sure, they don’t even know I am lying here listening to them.

Time passes by but I am unaware of it.  When I open my eyes I may be greeted by the falling dusk over the expansive field.  I keep them closed.  I hold on to the moment.  I am one with nature, one with this time of bliss.

I open my eyes and exhale. I remove my wrist from my nose and open my eyes.  I am sitting on my couch in my living room, my laptop pressing on my thighs.  I exit my trance.  I bring my wrist back up to my nose and Ballena de la Pampa brings me back into the endless fields of Argentina.

Creed-—-Aventus_514_341-514x341

Creed Aventus Review

Notes

Bergamot, Black Currant, Pineapple, Birch, Ambergris, Musk, Oakmoss, Amber, Vanilla

The Short Story

The scent of mean corporate lawyers and back-stabbing careerists.

The Long Story

creed-aventus-men-fragrance1Creed’s Aventus is the scent of the aspiring climbers of the corporate ladder.  If their boss in the corner office wears Green Irish Tweed, the yuppie with the skinny tie fetching him the Starbucks wears Aventus.

Aventus and the aspiring junior are perfect for each other. The latter is enchanted by the prospects of power, success and wealth and the former was created to celebrate power, vision and success.

Proximity to power creates arrogance.  It creates the illusion that just because you enjoy the favour of those in charge, you are one of them. In this sense, Aventus is also the fragrance of mean corporate lawyers and back-stabbing careerists.

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To their benefit, however, Aventus is a good fragrance.  It opens with fresh bergamot and tarty black currant and pineapple.  Usually, the latter two notes are used to add sweetness to a composition. Not here, however. They play very well with the citrus notes and contribute some gravitas and heftiness to the light and fleeting nature of the bergamot.

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The fresh opening transitions into a smoky/bitter birch and patchouli combo. It still maintains its freshness but at this stage things become interesting.  Incense is not on the ingredient list, even though a smoky note is clearly present. I believe the birch and patchouli  are responsible for this.  For me, the tarty pineapple and smoke  define the fragrance.

The somewhat sharp middle notes are tempered down by a sweet musky base.  Musk, amber and vanilla add some sweetness and shave off some of the harsh edges of the woody middle.

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Even though Aventus would probably work anywhere, I see it working best in the office, preferably around people with influence.  The crisp, yet, serious vibe that it gives out would definitely give the impression that you are a modern man who values quality and means business.  If this is you, or at least aspire to be one of those men, then run and get two bottles.  Your promotion may depend on it.

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John Varvatos Artisan Acqua Review

Notes

Orange, Pomelo, Toscanol,Palmarosa, Musk, Lavender, Fir Resin

The Short Story

Teenage hormone cover-up.

The Long Story

john-varvatos-artisan-acquaMargaret Thatcher has a famous saying about power: “Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”  The same is true for being an artist – if you have to tell people you are, you most likely aren’t.

The ad campaign of John Varvatos’s latest release, Artisan Acqua, goes above and beyond to tell everyone that would listen that Artisan Acqua was made the artisan way.  By that understand a fragrance made by hand, with the best quality ingredients and in small batches.

It takes only a whiff to figure out that these are just nice words that have nothing to do with the reality.

Artisan Acqua Model

Artisan Acqua is a pleasant fragrance but has nothing with being artisan.  Arguably, some creativity went into making it, but it’s by far the least creative work of Rodrigo Flores-Roux.  After all, you can be only so creative with a boring brief and a tight budget.  Hence, the result is a generic summery-fresh scent that is guaranteed to not offend even the most sensitive noses.

Artisan Acqua opens predictably with citrus (orange and pomelo). We’ve got a decent dose of Toscanol (very artisan-like) to give the mix some light green sweetness and some lavender for a more masculine vibe.

The white musk and fir balsam do their job to add some longevity. In my case this is unwelcome because Artisan Acqua becomes quickly very boring despite its polite pleasantness.

Artisan Acqua doesn’t add anything new to the market.  As is the practice of many designers, Artisan Acqua was released for the sole purpose to keep Varvatos relevant on the counter.

Despite achieving nothing from a creative and “artisan” point of view, Artisan Acqua might be a decent cologne for your teenage son.  It won’t help him get girls or boys but at least it will cover up the smell of some of those raging teenage hormones.

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