Many years ago, as a Christmas gift I received my first desktop humidor. After unwrapping it, I stared at it for a while and day dreamed about how it would look on my desk. After stocking it with cigars and desperately trying to maintain its humidity level, I’d open it just so I could smell freshly humidified tobacco and the cedar that contained it. This gave me the same ahhh feeling I’d get when I visit the walk in humidor at my favorite cigar shop, OK Cigars. After wearing Ormande Jayne’s Montabaco, my ahh ha moment revealed that this scent captures what no other tobacco scent I’ve come acrfreshly humidified tobacco and the moist air that surrounds it, and it’s fantastic.
Montabaco is a part of Ormande Jayne’s Four Corners of The Earth collection, which is made up of four scents. Collectively, they pay homage to the places that have inspired the brand’s founder and creative director Linda Pilkington. Montabaco’s inspiration comes from Latin America.
The scent opens very herbaceous with a slightly sweet edge. It’s zesty and aromatic. The scent has a lift to it as well. I imagine that’s the clary sage that’s present in the top notes. I can see where some may say it’s medicinal in its opening but it doesn’t bother me. There’s also something mysterious about the opening, it’s airy but in a way I’ve never quite experienced.
As Montabaco moves into it’s next phase, the scent turns and the star of the show, tobacco becomes more prominent. A well humidified cigar blooms revealing the beautiful scent of its tobacco leafs. Walk into a humidor and the humidity intensifies this scent. It’s like it lifts it from the leaf and floods the air with it. Montabaco’s tobacco leaf note captures this essence while the use of rose gives it a sweet mossy scent. Once I finally peaked at the scent’s notes, I realized there’s an air note and whatever that is, it’s likely imitating the humidity in the air that makes the scent of tobacco blossom. As the scent moves into its final phase, it becomes more sensual with its use of sandalwood and ambergris, which surrounds more tobacco.
You don’t have to be a tobacco lover to appreciate Montabaco. The way it’s layered with notes like orange absolute, rose, violet, tonka and sandalwood, to name a few, presents a very unique scent. Judging from a few of the reviews I’ve read, I suspect men will either love or hate it, but that’s the beauty scent. On one occasion I wore it, a woman picked up its rose note and complimented me on how I smelled. If Montabaco is inspired by Latin America, I suspect it’s not the glamorized sexy that we’re often fed to the beat of drums. Its inspiration is the culture beneath the veil. And like the back roads where the really good food comes from fish shacks and rum shops, Montabaco isn’t for everyone but I’m digging it.
Before the Elements Showcase, I didn’t know anything about the fragrance brand M. Micallef. Ever since, however, I’ve become a fan and it’s all because of its latest release, Royal Vintage.
M. Micallef was established in 1996 by Martine Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman. The brand is based in Grasse and to date has over 750 retail locations across 39 countries. That’s impressive.
To me everything about Royal Vintage is a throwback as its name conjures. Many men’s fragrance bottles today convey their masculinity through their angles, which are usually sharp and square-ish and via its weight. A men’s fragrance that feels substantial in your hand must be masculine, right? The design for Royal Vintage, however, took its inspiration from vintage cars and iconic cinema. As for the scent, it feels familiar, something I can see many men instantly liking. What we have in Royal Vintage is a masculine scent with enough panache to claim signature scent status.
Like a firm handshake, the slightly peppery opening of Royal Vintage gets your attention. But it’s also cool and confident and the juxtaposition of bergamot freshens it up while adding a touch of sweetness. As it dries down, its woody, leather and musk characteristics are where the scent blooms and it keeps on going. It has wonderful lasting power.
The men’s cologne of yesteryear exuded a bravado that led me to reject them when I was younger. Their masculine quotient was on overdrive. While Royal Vintage reads unequivocally masculine and traditional, it’s quite mellow and possesses a quiet elegance. It reads suits and ties but I can also see it giving a t-shirt and jeans weekend an entirely new life. It’s timeless and can be worn anywhere and I suspect many will add this to their scent wardrobe for years to come.
Royal Vintage – 100ml EDP goes for $185 at Lucky Scent.
A sample of Royal Vintage was sent to me but my opinions are my own.
What I love about our sense of smell is that it never lies. It knows what it likes and there’s no denying it. Case in point – sometime ago, I featured a bottle of Prada’s Amber Pour Homme Intense in a piece I wrote for Complex magazine and while I liked it very much, I didn’t wear it with any regularity. Every now and then I’d spray it on and go about my business.
One particular day, perhaps a day when I wasn’t rushing out of the house, I noticed its scent five or so minutes after applying it and I said to myself, “man this is good.” Later in the day, I wondered what smelled so good and remembered what I was wearing and realized it was only getting better. In that moment I wondered why I wasn’t wearing it more often and it dawned on me, that when I was in a jam on what scent to wear for the day, Prada Amber Homme Intense had become one of my go-to scents.
In its simply designed, dark colored bottle, Prada Amber Homme Intense is slick. It opens with a fresh, zesty punch, which is perhaps where the intense part comes in. It quickly settles down but the brightest parts of the opening remain…that’s slick. It also possesses a honeyed sweetness that balances out those spices, which I quite like. It’s smoky and resinous and to my surprise, as it develops, I begin noticing its fougere characteristics. What I really like about this one is how close to the skin it sits. Its dry down whispers leather with just a touch of sweetness.
Prada Amber Homme Intense is polished with confident subtly and I appreciate that. It has a familiar masculinity that reads a bit traditional and I suspect most men will appreciate that.
In the West Indian community when a person is departing, they are often told to Walk Good. Gents, you’ll walk good and confidently with Prada Amber Homme Intense.
The other day as I was exiting the train station here in New York City, I looked up and realized the sun is setting earlier. While that wasn’t the first time that’s ever happened, it always catches you by surprise and it’s a sure sign fall is right around the corner. Continue reading
Posted in Fragrance Review
Tagged A'Men Pure Cuir, Atelier Cologne, best cologne, best mens cologne, Etat Libre d'Orange, Fall Fragrances, Home Fragrances, Juniper Ridge, Kerosene Fragrances, men's cologne, Men's Fragrances, mens cologne review, mens top fragrances, new mens fragrances, Opus Oils, Paestum Rose, Pinon, Ralf Schwieger, Rose 31, Rose Anonyme, Rose d'Homme, The Afternoon of a Faun, Thierry Mugler, Woodhaven
Here we are a week before Labor Day and the melancholy of summer’s end is setting in. I plan on getting in at least one more beach day and BBQ before we say goodbye to summer 2012. With that, fall fragrance releases are here. Continue reading
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Tagged best cologne, best mens cologne, Fall Fragrances, Fragrance Review, Hanae Mori, Masculine scents, men's cologne, Men's Fragrances, mens cologne review, mens top fragrances, New Fragrances, new mens fragrances, Nordstrom, Sephora, Spicy Fragrances
When I think of a vacation, thoughts of blue skies, beautiful beaches and my wife passed out on the beach come to mind. She tends to do that while I stay awake and make sure no one runs away with our stuff. My point is, however, vacation conjures thoughts of escaping reality for fun in the sun. Trade-in sounds of honking horns and train conductors saying, “stand clear of the closing doors,” for the sound of waves crashing against the shore and “sir would you like another rum punch.” For the next installment of my group blogging project with Olfactoria’s Travels, Persolaise, and eyeliner on a cat, we’re talking about vacation perfumes. Continue reading
Every now and then we need a go-to, no fuss cologne. When the guys gather up for some brews, an impromptu barbeque gathering develops or something as simple as your new neighbor rings your bell. The latter might be wishful thinking but you get the point. You don’t have to be dressed to the nines but you should at least smell good and sometimes you just want to grab a fragrance without thinking about it. For times like these, you want something relaxed and clean with no pretense. In simple terms, something that just works. Continue reading
Posted in Fragrance Review
Tagged best cologne, best mens cologne, Clean Scents, fresh scents, John Varvatos, Kiehl's Musk, Men's Colgone, Men's Fragrances, mens cologne review, mens top fragrances, summer cologne, Thierry Mugler Cologne
Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. For some of you reading this, you’re probably asking yourself, where is the sun? Keep the faith, it’s coming.
With summer on the horizon, we can look forward to sticky days and stickier nights. During those times, having a fragrance cling to your skin is the last thing you want to even think about. It’s the reason we typically reach for lighter scents. But when perusing men’s fragrance offering this time of year, I’m usually bored. They either contain too much citrus or they’re too sporty or aquatic. So what’s a guy to do? This guy ventured to the other side of the isle. Yup that’s right, I went looking in the women’s section and I discovered a gem. Continue reading
Posted in Fragrance Review
Tagged Balenciaga, best mens cologne, Best scents for summer, fresh scents, L'Essence, Light scents, Memorial Day Weekend, mens cologne review, mens top fragrances, new mens fragrances, summer scents
A few weeks ago, I witnessed a conversation on Twitter discussing the making of mixtapes. They were discussing the ones we made at home ourselves on cassette tapes filled with slow jams. The ones we toiled over for that girl that made us pay attention to the way we smelled, the girl who for some reason took the words right out of our mouth, our first, second, third and fourth crushes. We made them to communicate our feelings in a way we couldn’t at that time. For some reason, Bobby Brown’s, “I Wanna Rock With You” said it so much cooler than I ever could. Besides, making the mixtape was like writing a letter, albeit imperfect with its abrupt endings and sudden beginnings (those pause and record buttons were never as precise as we wanted them to be). In the end, however, she got the point, and if she blushed, you were the man. Continue reading
Penhaligon’s, the English perfume house founded in the 1860’s, has released its newest Eau de Toilette, Juniper Sling (that’s a slick name). Inspired by London Dry Gin, it was created by the perfumer Oliver Cresp and is meant to pay homage London’s roaring twenties. Continue reading
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Tagged best mens cologne, Juniper Sling, London Dry Gin, Men's Colgone, Men's Fragrances, mens cologne review, mens top fragrances, New Fall Scents, new mens fragrances, Penhaligon's