Bijan Men fragrance review

Bijan Men fragranceThe first colognes I bought for myself were: Guerlain's Eau Impériale in a big "bee" bottle, Yves Saint Laurent's Pour Homme, Monsieur Balmain and Bijan Men (from the beginning of my perfume habit I did not practice restraint). I purchased all these colognes over 15 years ago at Christmastime in the beautiful Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles, so these scents bring to mind cool weather, holiday excitement, and carefree indulgence (I had just gotten my first "college" credit card).

Things change: the landmark Bullocks Wilshire building is now part of The Southwestern University School of Law, there's nothing carefree about my abundant credit cards, and living in Seattle means cool weather is not as special as it used to be. I began to wonder how my First Colognes (unsniffed in ages with the exception of Eau Impériale — a constant in my perfume arsenal) would smell in 2007.

Today, YSL's Pour Homme gives me a headache — caused, I think, by the duel-in-a-bottle between its carnation and patchouli notes (their fusillades keep hitting me right between the eyes). Monsieur Balmain smells less elegant and "pure" than it used to — the deep, natural and warm lemon scent that I remember from long ago does not match the brighter, lighter, rosier, and more ordinary, aroma of the current formula (and the new bottle and packaging look cheap to boot). But Bijan Men still appeals to me and smells exactly the same as I remember it. I was happy to rekindle the relationship and I bought a bottle.

Bijan Pakzad opened his shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in 1976 and the colorful Bijan "by appointment only" boutique is full of art and antiques and outrageously priced men’s clothes and accessories. The Bijan store is often described as "the most expensive shop in the world". You may take a virtual tour of Bijan’s store at www.bijan.com; do note the chandelier in the main salon — its "crystals" are made of $1 million worth of Bijan Women perfume bottles (filled with real perfume bien sûr).

Bijan cologne for men was released in 1987 — at the height of 80's Exce$$, when being famous and rich and flaunting your fame and riches were not considered gauche, but inspirational. Advertising his clientele, Bijan had the names of some of his most loyal customers permanently engraved on the front window of the Bijan boutique. President Bush, Vladimir Putin, Paul Allen, John Kerry, Arnold Schwarzennegger, Tom Cruise and Tom Ford have all shopped at Bijan.

Bijan Men, the "classic" in a larger line of men's fragrances, contains: citrus, bergamot, rosemary, lavender, nutmeg, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, amber and oak moss. The opening of Bijan Men is delightful: a spicy-floral blend of fresh lemon and bergamot spiked with balmy nutmeg. As Bijan Men develops, the citrus grows fainter, and bracing lavender, rosemary and vetiver come forward. There is a smooth transition from the herbal and grassy middle notes to a well-blended base of airy patchouli, light sandalwood, powdery musk and amber. As nutmeg heightens the opening of Bijan Men, oak moss gilds the base. Bijan Men's ingredients are held together gently, allowing individual notes to shine. Compared to the bold and scene-stealing Bijan Women, Bijan Men is calm and decorous (but not boring or predictable). Bijan Men's lasting power is very good.

I have always loved the Bijan-designed bottle: a round glass ring, topped with a stylized turban. The bottle is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute. Bijan Men won the Fragrance Foundation's FiFi Award for "Most Successful Men's Fragrance (Exclusive)" in 1988. Bijan Men is also available in body/hair shampoo, aftershave moisturizer and antiperspirant.

Shop for perfume

FragranceNetParfums Raffy

9 Comments

Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. Anonymous says:

    One of my first “fine” fragrances I owned as a teenager – I have fond memories of Bijan Men. Haven't smelled it in years – to be honest I thought it was discontinued…

    Loved the spiciness of it (I also owned Perry Ellis the original for men frag at the time too).

    Of course, now my spice 'tolerance' is much higher (I enjoy Ambre Sultan & most of the CDG Incense series now…) but I can't wait to revisit Bijan Men soon.

    Great blog by the way – check it many times throughout my day

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mike: thanks for the kind words about the blog. Bijan makes miniatures of their scents that are for sale at some discounters (I believe http://www.beautifulperfumes.com has the Bijan Men mini) — a good way to revisit the scent. K

  3. Anonymous says:

    Whoah! Kevin, YOU BRAVE SOUL, you! Bijan to me is one of the powerhouses of scents that come up right along side of Polo Green, Polo Crest, Giorgio Beverly Hills and Safari! I could never wear the scent…it wears me!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. You know I never think of Bijan Men as a powerhouse and always tell people I don't like STRONG scents! Am I fooling myself? The only colognes I have now that I would classify as “powerhouses” are Black Aoud, Gold by Amouage, and Bandit Light…when I wear Bandit Light I'm sure all those downwind of me get a whiff….K

  5. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it's my sensitivity to the notes, or maybe it's reformulation if we're talking about a newer bottle of the juice here. Back then, I distinctly remember wearing this scent and it was a constant battle for me, it had more presence than I did! Hehe, scents of the 80's wasn't about subtlety either.

    I agree Black Aoud has presence, reminds me of the citric woodiness that Habit Rouge exudes…both great by the way! I don't think Amouage Gold is too bad provided that 2 sprays max is sufficient. But any form of Bandit, I think, wins them all! I've worn the EdP, and I'm sure it arrived the room like a premonition and stayed around after I left the building! :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    No mention by anyone of the strong “leather” base, perhaps composed by the bergamot/nutmeg but unquestionably supported by Isobutyl Quinolone. This fragrance strikes me as very similar to vintage Bandit! Funny that KevinS mentions “Bandit Light” with no mention of the leathery, powdery aldehyde these fragrances share.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sandalwood enthusiast: I do smell a similarity between Bandit and Bijan — especially when they are sprayed on paper or cotton balls — but when I spray the scents on my skin only Bandit gives me a jolt of leather, Bijan on me is more spicy. I'm sorry to say I'm on my last bottle of Bandit Light….K

  8. Dave says:

    Ah, this stuff brings it all back – I first became beguiled with Bijan as a wee lad, admiring it in sample form in my dad’s GQ. It slipped off my radar until I saw it at TJ Maxx, and had to have a bottle. It was my daily scent (in extremely moderate doses) for a while, though the last bottle I got demonstrates signs of a reformulation. I now think of Parfums de Nicolai New York as smelling more like my idealized memory of Bijan.

    • Kevin says:

      Dave: sorry to hear you sniff a reformulation! My bottle is definitely the “old” juice. Bijan seems to be cheapening its perfume formulas…the last few I’ve smelled have reminded me of laundry products…and not “nice” laundry products either.

Leave a reply