Penhaligon’s Halfeti & Levantium ~ fragrance reviews

Penhaligon's Halfeti

Penhaligon’s Trade Routes Collection was inspired by “the luxurious and decadent commodities which were traded through London’s historic docks at the turn of the 19th Century.” What comes to mind after reading that teaser? Delicious, fumy liqueurs and spirits, spices and foodstuffs, sandalwood, patchouli, leathers, fabrics and the fabulous plant “discoveries” brought back to England by botanist-explorers. But who knew the ships’ hulls had kegs and kegs full of…Iso E Super?!

Halfeti1 was named after the rare black roses that grow near the Turkish village of Halfeti…

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John Varvatos Dark Rebel ~ fragrance review

John Varvatos Dark Rebel, still from commercial

John Varvatos produces a respectable range of fragrances; they smell high quality, the packaging is fun and the collection is cohesive and “adult” (nothing Axe-like) — I don’t feel most Varvatos fragrances are made to feed (or succumb to) a market trend. From the moment I smelled Dark Rebel,* I liked it. A lot. It didn’t take long to realize WHY I liked it so much…more on that later.

Dark Rebel begins with a sweet (but assertive) leather aroma, mildly boozy and spiced with peppery notes and cardamom…

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Dior Sauvage ~ fragrance review

Dior Sauvage

A friend recommends a movie: “Kevin, it’s perfect for you…about death, suicide, the past…the things you love!” I go, and want to leave the theater after 15 minutes. I’ve often bought a chocolate bar or bottle of wine after reading an article proclaiming their merits: “…you’ll experience rich notes of raisin, orange peel, dates, rose, saffron.” I eat and drink and want to spit. “Read this book, it will change your life!” Mostly unread, the book is now in Africa…either delighting or puzzling a child who happened to grab it from a bookshelf. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably bought a perfume without smelling it because it was praised by a “trusted” reviewer. I have! I buy…and cry: “What a waste of money!”

In my early years, I would get mad at being ‘tricked’ out of my time and cash. I’d rant: “Liars!” “Fools!” “Tasteless ignoramuses!” Now, I’m gentle. I think: maybe that book or chocolate bar or movie or perfume DID bring joy, a sense of revelation to someone — else…

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Krizia Moods Uomo ~ fragrance review

Portrait of the Artist's Wife with a Hat by August Macke

Last week I wrote about a newly released fragrance (Acqua di Parma Colonia Club) that fits (for me) into the “old man cologne” category. Today, I’m writing about another men’s perfume that’s been around the block — 1989’s Moods Uomo1 by Krizia. But unlike Colonia Club, Moods Uomo still has legs. As Bruce Jenner transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner, so Moods Uomo can easily make the transition from a mature-dude perfume into a modern-dame fragrance; the dame can be 25, 35 or older, but she must have retro perfume tastes and wear men’s perfumes with aplomb, not doubt or fear. (I bet many young men wouldn’t like, let alone appreciate, Moods Uomo, unless they’re perfume fanatics who’ve sampled pre-IFRA offerings stretching way back in time.)

Moods Uomo opens with heavy-duty aldehydes, sour greens (there’s a wormwood-like note), and citrus peels. Moods’ opening notes keep percolating as others join in…

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Acqua di Parma Colonia Club ~ fragrance review

Three men at the races

How many times have I mounted my high horse and lectured a friend (my ‘fury’ barely concealed) when such friend would utter these words after smelling a fragrance: “Old. Lady. Perfume.” Nostrils flaring, eyebrows on top of my head, lips pursed…I would commence my lecture: “I hate that phrase! There’s nothing OLD about this perfume…it just has ingredients you don’t know or like or…UNDERSTAND…ingredients that remind you of the past. Aldehydes! Oak moss! Real musk!” (I could go on…and I won’t even broach the subject of ageism!)

Imagine how awful I felt after smelling Acqua di Parma Colonia Club;1 the first words out of my mouth were: “This is an old man perfume!” …

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