Editor's pick: Three solid mainstream scents

More or less good & more or less unexpensive.


Aramis - Aramis 

Year: 1966
Nose: Bernard Chant

Aramis Classic is a fantastic, solid, powerful and – as the name goes – more than classic leather chypre, so austere and straightforward it smells almost like a canon of prototypical masculinity in perfumery. Dark and bold, warm and with just a thin feel of “macho”, basically centered around leather, herbs, aldehydes, classic “manly” flowers (jasmine, lavender) and a base accord of oak moss and woods – all of this at least in the vintage EDC version I own, which is the only version I’ve worn so far of this fragrance. I got it for $12 and it has a fantastic depth rich in “aged” density (and a nuclear sillage). Great flowers, great leather, impressive oak moss. Everlasting drydown. A timeless, no-frills, dark masculine manifesto. The cheesy American cousin of Hermès Bel Ami. Conventional, but not outdated and not boring at all – simply a bold, comforting classic. As I said I do not know the actual version, I’m sure it’s great too, but personally, generally if a vintage version of a scent exists, then I’d go for that “a priori”. Anyway, beautiful!



Bottega Veneta - Eau de Parfum

Year: 2011
Nose: Michel Almairac

Bottega Veneta EDP opens with a fantastic, sharp, simple yet powerful and distinctive powdery-earthy blend, with a zesty bergamot note (which will be gone in seconds), juicy red pepper, patchouli, oakmoss and a vibrant yet tamed-down jasmine note, all surrounded by a light shade of leather and “reinforced” by aldehydes which also provide a sort of classic allure to the composition. The texture is really peculiar, as it smells at the same time cristalline, clean and vibrant yet thick, somehow “grayish” and dense: an elegant, powdery, talc white-floral accord beautiful sustained by dark, earthy and rooty notes of moss and patchouli, which smell at the same time dirty and perfectly restrained – so don’t expect anything realistic, raw or exotic: the inspiration is quite “glossy” and French in my opinion. Finally I smell a sort of mineral-salty feel which seems arising from the base earthy-mossiness, blending with aldehydes and the floral-indolic feel of jasmine. On the drydown it becomes increasingly less sweet and talc, and more herbal-mossy, but always extremely gentle and sophisticated. There is a genius and really well executed harmony going on between the powdery plushiness and the almost-indolic earthiness of the base notes, which makes Bottega Veneta smell incredibly good, refined and unique. Plus, don’t be “fooled” by the pyramid, as all notes smell quite unusual to me if compared to how they usually smell – not sure whether it’s because of the good quality of materials, or Almairac’s talent, but I had quite a hard time in “detecting” them – I expected something quite different, while here they all smell different than usual, in a totally good way. Bottega Veneta EDP is elegant and versatile, but peculiar and quite memorable: it’s a sort of half white/pink, half greyish/earthy fragrance, with nice shades and a gentle feel of pastel grace beautiful dirtened by darker notes. All, as I said, created with great and bright creativity. Worthy a try (or even a blind buy, as it is not that expensive).



Kenzo - Jungle pour Homme

Year: 1998
Nose: Olivier Cresp

Kenzo's Jungle pour Homme opens with a really peculiar, distinctive and to me totally pleasant accord composed by a sort of odd spicy-green-fruity blend, much aromatic and slightly milky, with sharp lime notes juxtaposed to a creamy, fruity, slightly synthetic feel of tropical fruits (banana, a bit of coconut too), enhanced by carnation and spices – notably nutmeg and cloves. Beyond this, a perfectly-blended note of sandalwood, which is quite sweet and creamy as well. Overall the name fits this scent perfectly, as it is quite an exotic and bizarre Oriental scent which surely conjures a “jungle” mood. What I admire the most is the effort to create something less usual than predictable “green-forest” clichés, trying to evoke a whole “raw nature” ambiance – spices, woods, leaves, even a sort of aqueous-mineral feel. The opening is quite bold, then it suddenly tones down to a nutty-citrus green and creamy blend with a prominent sandalwood note, all well wrapped up in a sort of “balsamic” creaminess that tames down both the fruity-sweet side, and the spices, avoiding to become either “too gourmand” or too spiced. Totally creative and distinctive, but well balanced and restrained enough to be perfectly safe, pleasant and unisex in any circumstance. Finally, on the drydown it becomes more quiet, more gentle and more dry, with spices and woods (cedar too) emerging to the point of bringing Jungle Homme almost close to a woody fougère territory – still with a balmy-sweet Oriental vibe all over, also with distant echoes of Opium pour Homme. A bit synthetic (this meaning “cheap”) here and there, but really nice and creative, also smelling fairly “niche” (in the positive meaning).


p.s.: my review is based on the older bottle in the purple box, not sure if it smells like the subsequent one.

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