Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interview with RJ Ledesma

"Smells like DOM spirit: Author RJ Ledesma and perfume expert Eugene He (his name, not the pronoun) investigate the olfactory connection."

Finally, the very humourous interview with RJ Ledesma of The Philippine Star is out at  Smell My Wrath. Be sure to check it out!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Bel Ami by Hermes

Bel Ami has got no connection to the famous porn production house but was inspired by the 1885 French novel of the same name. One can possibly argue that Bel Ami the novel in its time was as good as porn literature. Scandals upon scandals, how did this 'beautiful friend' become an inspiration for a fragrance? Beats me, but I'm glad it happened and Bel Ami the fragrance was created.

I obtained the original juice five years ago and it was out of this world beautiful, at least in my opinion. The first whiff transported me to a library in the 19th century - leather book bindings, old newspaper, acidic ink, leather upholstery, dust, fire place, tobacco and unwashed homosapiens. Never mind it broke me in rashes; I'd wear it even if my skin blisters. 

That bottle was precious, and the greatest irony of all happened: I lost it. Yes, I somehow stupidly misplaced a treasure. Fast-forward, I finally bought a new bottle today and what's better to celebrate this reunion than a well-deserved review? Sadly, the new formulation (I am pretty sure it was tweaked since I don't break into a rash anymore) 'cleaned' up Bel Ami. The scent and idea is still there, but it's lacking the depth and raunch of the original. The citrus notes are much cleaner, leather less castorum-like, and oakmoss is seriously diluted.

Bel Ami kicks off with well blended aromatic cocktail of citruses. The heart is carnation and orris, scandaled by dirty, smoky woods, and bound together by a handsome base of leather, oakmoss,vanilla and vetiver. It's truly complex and to quote Beauty and the Beast - 'bitter sweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong'. Ahhh ... scandals.

Rating: ***** (original)
           ****1/2 (new)


Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: Tom Ford For Men Extreme

Not many fragrances tempt me the way Tom Ford's does. If you have read my previous review on Tom Ford for Men, you will understand why I rushed home every night hoping to see the parcel. It was a very blind-buy as I refused to read any reviews nor articles before I bought it as I really needed a blind date.

The bottle is over the top sexy featuring amber glass contrasted with gold making it ostentatiously retro, luxurious and desirable. First spritz and I was glad I didn't have any preconceived idea of what this would smell like. It is nothing like Tom Ford For Men, not even a stronger more intense version.

This is literally a rich man's bonfire. Over a small fire, sprinkle some exotic spices, stick in a bunch of cistus and throw in a few leaves of basil. Inhale. It is rooty and spicy at the same time. Next, aggravate the fire with some cedarwood and while it's burning red hot, go generous with saffron and violet leaves. It's a good time to roast some plums while the fire is at it's peak. Now it's time to go all out and create trouble. Throw in your wife's Birkin and that ball of black truffle you've been saving for this big day. Pick your finest rum and douse the fire with it. Inhale. This is Tom Ford for Men Extreme.

Rating: *****

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Smell of Manila

I was recently interviewd by RJ Ledesma of the Philippine Star and UNO magazine and having read this blog, he was curious to know my 'scentscription' of Makati in Manila. Here's a sneak preview before the actual article:

'Makati’s air is an industrial cocktail of tarty sweetness and hot cement. Green mango scented bricks maybe?'

I'm back, and this time with a new lover

Apologies for my disappearance.

It's been a crazy month with lots of travelling and launches that distracted me from writing but I'm back now with more delicious and sinister reviews. I am fortunate to have met some really interesting people from the industry and across the continents and sniffed crazy creations, and some subdued ones, including the yet to be named 'Rihanna'.

To welcome the writings again, I thought I'd write something decadent, something American.


So New York represents the common love of New Yorkers - espresso and chocolate. I say it represents the common love of anyone destined to work in an office. I'm allergic to coffee and too much chocolate gives me palpitations but sniffing it keeps me happy. Coffee and chocolate are not uncommon themes used in perfumes and they do appear from time to time - CSP's Amour de Cacao, Thierry Mugler's A*Men Pure Coffee and Givenchy's Play to name a few. Sure, I love my coffee and chocolate, but I also do not wish to end up smelling like a confectionary, or worse, like tiramisu. A good fragrance should be one that evokes emotions utilising the publicised notes, and be good enough to be worn daily without making you feel sick or diabetic.

I crossed my fingers when I took a sniff as I really needed to find a gourmand I can wear with a suit without ending up like Willy Wonka. Opening is sparkling and fresh (yes, fresh) with very delightful slight hint of oak and spices. It is important to note at this point that this fragrance is very linear after the top notes wear out. The heart and base contains the stars of this scent - espresso with a dollop of warm milk and unsweetened dark chocolate with a dried plum for effect. Yes it is slightly sweet, but it's rightly sweet. Overall, this is a decadent scent with sophistication that is genderless. It doesn't remind me of food, nor places food comes from, but it does evoke emotions and memories of being in a lovely cafe on a Sunday. If it does remind you of the actual coffee and chocolate, then they better be Godiva.

Rating: ****1/2
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