Tag Archives: Woody scents

Dolce & Gabbana Intenso

Dolce & Gabbana Intenso

 

I can’t remember the last time a fragrance by a mass brand REALLY caught my attention. While that may sound snooty, the reality is I find most them unimaginative because they’re all the same.

While working on a fragrance and grooming project, I came across the recently launched Dolce & Gabbana Intenso and haven’t been able to stop wearing it since.

Many years ago before I got into the blogging thing, there were a handful of fragrances I wore on a regular basis and Dole & Gabbana Pour Homme was one of them. Upon first sniff of Intenso, I was instantly taken back. While they have similar characteristics, they are very different.

For Intenso, it’s all about elegance and you get that right from the packaging. The box has a velvet feel and the dark bottle with brownish gold lettering definitely carries this thought all the way through. You really don’t expect the scent to open as light as it does from the usage of dark rich colors but it’s really fresh and clean. I find that this freshness lasts quite a while. As it dries down, however, the tobacco and woody notes begin to take shape and that’s when it truly becomes impressive. The way the scent juxtaposes the freshness and warmth is really nice. I’m a big fan of tobacco and wish it was a bit more present to cut some of the scents sweetness but I can live with it.

Intenso is an eau de parfum so it’s longevity is very good. Its last selling point, which I find equally as important, is its sillage. Intenso isn’t as intense as its name would have you imagine. Its presence is just strong enough to capture the right curiosity so don’t go and over spray or that curiosity will turn you into “that guy.”

Oh, by the way, Collin Farrell is the face behind Intenso. That’s cool and all but its the juice that seals the deal.

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Passion Boisee by Frapin

When I was a teen, I owned a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap and it was one of my favorite possessions. It was royal blue with a white B emblazoned on the front. Barney Bishop wearing a B on his cap. Need I say more? What I remember most, however, was the quest to have the perfect bend in the brim. You see, back then a well bent brim signaled the cap was lived in it. Its weathered appeal was what we sought. I spent hours bending it just to get it perfect. Continue reading

Bleu de Chanel

For sometime now, I’ve been writing an essay in my head. It deals with pop culture’s latest obsession, manly men. The themes are everywhere, from the runways to AMC’s Mad Men. Some have even speculated that the recession could be a culprit. The New York Times Sunday Styles article, “From Boys To Men” is a good read on the topic. Continue reading

Sartorial by Penhaligon’s

The very first time I smelled Penhaligon’s Sartorial I thought barbershop and tradition. It opens with a soft powdery smell that reminds me of the Saturday morning/afternoons I waited to get my hair cut, the sound of the clippers, the requests,” let me get X or Y,” those final moments before I got up from the chair; that stinging sensation from the alcohol as my barber went along my hairline and that fresh clean feeling of being a new man. How is it possible to have such details summoned from one smell? That is best answered by something I found on Penhaligon’s website in the “About Us” section and it says, “fragrance is liquid emotion.”

Scents that produced this sort of memory used to turn me off as I felt they leaned too heavily on tradition and the idea that “this is how men are supposed to smell.” But that didn’t happen with Sartorial. Perhaps that can be attributed to my new-found love for LP No 9 or my recent return from Barbados where I spent time with my uncles who are all very traditional in their fragrance and grooming habits and it’s starting to rub off on me. But as I thought deeper about the name and read its supporting press materials that talked about the tailoring tradition that influenced this scent, I began thinking of my own tailor.

Mr. Henry is a Trinidadian tailor I’ve been going to for well over a decade now. He’s old school, he knows my parents, is genuinely interested in how I’m doing, but more importantly, schools me on the finer details of menswear. But that last point needs qualifying. There’s an old adage that says, “rules are meant to be broken.” Mr. Henry is the first to tell me, “no cuff on flat front slacks, but the choice is yours, or the break in your slacks should be here but they are wearing it shorter these day so you tell me where you want them. He allowed me to make a choice that made me comfortable. His willingness to strike that balance, which is an update from the tailors of yesteryear, compliments my feelings toward Sartorial. While the dry down beckons tradition, woody and earthy, it opens with a softness that shaves off the overly masculine edge of tradition. A beautiful balance that speaks to the modern man.

Sartorial is inspired by the scents of the workroom at Norton & Sons, Bespoke Tailors at No. 16 Savile Row. Mr. Henry’s shop didn’t smell like that. It was old, filled with scraps of material; lose pins, chalk, measuring tape, a sewing machine and an old radio that cranked out soca music. But Mr. Henry smelled of a deodorant mirroring Old Spice, Brut or Right Guard. For him that was how a man was supposed to smell, fresh and clean but not frilly. Sartorial embodies the masculinity of today’s man and I think Mr. Henry would say, “Young fella, a man is supposed to smell like that.”

Sartorial by Penhaligon’s will be in stores October 11, 2010.

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Jovan’s Sex Appeal for Men

What can you say about a fragrance that markets itself so boldly as an aphrodisiac? Jovan’s Sex Appeal for Men boasts being “more than the usual promise in a bottle. It’s more like a guarantee.” Why this relic from the late 1970s exists is a mystery to me, but I’m glad it does.

Sex Appeal for Men was launched (with a “for Women” counterpart that is no longer in production) in 1976, and everything about the packaging makes that apparent. The economy-sized bottle and the bizarre essay on the blue and mirror-finish box that exhorts men in 70s-era script to splash it on—“Man can never have too much”—all of it screams sleaze. It’s worth quoting the box copy in its entirety:

Sex Appeal.
Now you don’t have to be born with it.
This provocative stimulating blend of rare spices and herbs was created by man for the sole purpose of attracting woman. At will.
Man can never have too much.

The back of the box varies. The spray bottle packaging has instructions for “How to make the most of it” (“Spray it right on. On your chest. On your arms. Or wherever else you want more sex appeal.” Wink wink.)

The splash bottle, which I have, says this:

Splash it on. The more you use, the better.
Because it is truly sex appeal.
(and man can never have too much).
Sex Appeal by Jovan. For the first time in the history of the world… We bottled it.

And yet despite all of that retro hyperbole, it smells good. It’s like a spicier, less powdery Old Spice.. Some people compare it to Pierre Cardin for Men. As Tania Sanchez writes in Perfumes: The A to Z Guide, “You know, this is what guys who smelled bad used to smell like. It’s great.” She gave it four out of five stars.

After reading Sanchez’s hilarious and glowing review, I spotted Sex Appeal at a Brooklyn drug store. My girlfriend and I joked about it a bit, but we were curious. Could it really smell good? Could it, um…will it really turn women on? She got me a bottle for Christmas, and while it smells fantastic, it seems to have no real magnetic effect on her. Oh well. At a mere $16 for a hefty 4 ounce bottle (typical colognes are 3.4 ounces), it’s worth it.

I imagine the target market for this fragrance was once a combination of naïve, pimply teenagers and mustachioed womanizers of all ages. The kind of guy who might name his 1976 Camaro “The Love Boat,” and never do the top three buttons of his silk shirts. But who buys this now? If Jovan had any sense, they’d pay some geeks to come up with home-made video ads for this stuff and let it go viral on the web. I guarantee irony-loving hipsters and the nostalgia-gripped aging womanizers would buy it by the crate. –Harry Sheff

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