True Religion for Men
It's a lot harder to find a good-fitting pair of jeans than it is a 'good-fitting' cologne. My house is full of jeans that no longer make the cut (except for gardening duty) — jeans that are too: short, faded, loose, "deconstructed" or embellished for my own good (and the good of innocent onlookers). It's hard to find a slim-tailored pair of dark blue jeans that have not been abraded, faded/bleached, embroidered, ripped or whiskered. True Religion Brand Jeans are not 'me', but what about the new True Religion for Men cologne?
As usual, the company description of True Religion for Men is confusing and unintentionally amusing:
Introducing "the fragrance for the senses" True Religion for Men. A modern timeless fougère that breaks all the rules with a surprising citrus and herbal aromatic introduction. Moss and patchouli provide a darkly rugged feel with a vintage vibe. A masculine brew that demands attention. Fougère The essential masculine structure. Never out of style the classic elegance of the fougère continues to evoke pure masculinity, combining classic perfumery ingredients with modern accents. Aligns perfectly with the character of True Religion. A timeless classic creation needs no explanation and is unapologetically easy.
So! What we 'learn' about True Religion for Men:
It should look, sound, taste and feel as good as it smells;
It's a fougère — both classic-vintage AND modern; and
The "fragmented" copywriter doesn't know a fougère from a hole in the ground (True Religion for Men breaks no fougère rules).
True Religion for Men opens with sweet-tangy citrus (smells like mandarin to me) and a touch of vibrant, nose-tickling violet leaf (not the gray-dull, lung-battering, nostril-scraping type of violet leaf I hate). As True Religion for Men dries down, a powdery-"leather-lite" accord develops; the moss and patchouli in the base notes are transparent and lively (not opaque and plodding). True Religion for Men DOES fit me better than True Religion Brand jeans. The fragrance is well done, zingy, and though not 'original' in the least, it does not bore or annoy me. I prefer True Religion for Men to other recently released fragrances of its type: Ed Hardy Love & Luck Man, Burberry The Beat for Men and DKNY Men. (True Religion for Men reminds me of Tom Ford for Men — without the muskiness in the base.)
True Religion for Men Eau de Toilette is $59-79 (50 ml/100 ml).
Billy Jealousy Illicit
Billy Jealousy is a Texas-based company that produces men's grooming products; Illicit, the company's only fragrance, debuted in 2006 and contains bergamot, ivy, ginger, tea and sandalwood.
Illicit starts off with refreshing bergamot and crisp-tart "greens." Illicit's ivy note is joined by a green floral note (smelling like wintersweet flowers). Illicit's green accord smells great, and it lasts and lasts. I do smell ginger in Illicit's mid-development but green notes are the stars in this composition. (The tea note, if actually present, has been obscured by other notes; I can't tell if it's black or green or ginger tea.) Illicit's base notes of sandalwood and musk are sheer and take a back seat to residual "greenery." Illicit reminds me of Diptyque Eau de Lierre, but with added "Green Power!"
Even with its limited ingredients, I really like Illicit. If you live with someone who adores his "sport fragrances," get him a sample of green-tinged Illicit to try— maybe he'll stop wearing the 'blues' (ordinary, aquatic/ozone sport scents).
Billy Jealousy Eau de Parfum is $65 for 100 ml.
Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Malt
Just released without fanfare, Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Malt is simply described on the Mugler website: "Pure Malt honors the tradition of Scotland's peaty whiskies with its smoky and sensual woody accents. The result is a surprising fragrance of elegance and sophistication in which several malts collide, exciting the senses and revealing a truly noble and refined masculinity."
A*Men Pure Malt smells a lot like Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Coffee (without the coffee and chocolate, of course). A*Men Pure Malt goes on strong, and I can't decide if it's the alcohol of the formula or a boozy "malted barley" aroma that sears my nostrils. After those fumes quickly disappear, I smell warm woods, sweet musk, vanilla, perhaps a drop or two of patchouli, and a background "cereal" scent (a bit food-y, like sniffing a bowl full of Kellogg's Raisin Bran®). A*Men Pure Malt is a pleasant and comforting fragrance that's not too food-y or sweet — think of it as a low-cal alternative to A*Men Pure Coffee.
At first, A*Men Pure Malt disappointed me because I was SO looking forward to those "peaty" whisky and "smoky" wood aromas, and I can't detect them. As I wore A*Men Pure Malt, I liked it more and more, and if it had been available at the same time I bought my 100 ml. bottle of A*Men Pure Coffee, I would have probably bought A*Men Pure Malt instead — it's hard to commit to 'chocolate and coffee' first thing in the morning (for me that's 4:30 a.m.) when I choose my cologne for the day.
Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Malt Eau de Toilette is a limited edition; 100 ml for $70.