You should give Acqua di Sicilia from SMN a try, it is excellent.
Scent/Fragrance of the Day thread - Page 1653
Actually let me hop on to this discussion.
What are clean, professional, "classic"/traditional colognes made with high ingredient quality in mind? I sort of like AdP but can't stand the drydown which smells boring and synthetically vanillic to me (for some reason, this is not the case with the "body cream" which I occasionally use as an aftershave balm).
If AbdesSalaam made a cologne I'd instantly buy it.
It's probably my least favorite of Tauer's rose scents. Incense is definitely the star of the show, and so if you're a fan of incense scents I think it's definitely worth a try. The scent actually resembles Une Rose Chypree in that both feature that fizzy citrus and spicy opening. (Cardamom in Incense Rose, and I think cinnamon in Une Rose Chypree.) As with many Tauers, it's very loud in the opening. But it becomes softer as the rose emerges. I definitely like it better once the sharp, somewhat bitter incense recedes.
Today, New York by Parfums de Nicolai. Third attempt so far.
Barbershop-style anisic lavender opening, which I really like. But the scent rapidly veers towards the powdery spicy with a touch of amber. I'm not sure I like it, it's a bit too loud in a 1980s power scent kind of way, and that aspect covers up what feels like a quality depth. Well, I'm interested enough to try again some time.
Bit of Azzaro PH to see if I've changed my mind. Nope, this still smells like most of the deodorants you can find in supermarkets. I guess Azzaro was a victim of its own success, as the fougere was ruthlessly copied by all the commercial fragrance departments.
Quoting Chandler Burr's hilarious description in The Perfect Scent:
I think it's like polyester suits (or RTW vs couture) - when the synthetics arrived, designers went wild. A little too wild. And since it was new and fashionable, everybody adopted it for a while.
I remember reading somewhere about couture dying out because amazingly, it became "old fashioned" to get a one off done by a couturier in Paris and the lady of taste would be going for RTW just like all her friends - the overriding quality of a couture dress versus RTW not being enough to stem the damage.
There's something to be said about being outside of fashion, but there is a dimension of quality as well. Vetiver is supposed to be very old fashioned in France (and elsewhere: a man approaching his century, wheelchair-bound, was quite strongly projecting it at Sydney Airport recently...), but it is an objectively pleasant, complex and high quality scent that is at the core of many a perfume's base or sometimes heart notes. Same with anything that contains the original Guerlinade. Azzaro, however, is a bespoke polyester suit.
Azzaro was definitely an acquired taste for me. It very much smells of the 70's, and that fougere style is evocative of the locker rooms and hairy chested men of my childhood and adolescent memories. Once I got past the blanket associations, I started to appreciate certain examples of the style. Azzaro, Dior Jules and YSL Kouros are the ones that I've gotten most attached to, and they're now among my most commonly worn scents, throughout the year. The style is so contrary to current niche trends that it feels almost novel to me now.
Azzaro in particular has an incredible dry down - it seems to bloom on my skin throughout the day. The dated associations are entirely in the opening for me. After an hour it feels like a new scent.
I'm not sure if what you're saying about synthetics and Azzaro is accurate. I have a vague memory of reading that it uses a lot of high quality naturals, including real ambergris.
Well, I'm going by Burr's words. Nobody can get hold of the formula for fragrances, not even the houses themselves (due to a quirk of the industry whereby they don't have contracts...). So if Burr says it's synthetic (he also claims around 80% of any fragrance today even from the better mainstream names will be synthetics... which per se is not a bad thing, depending on said synthetic) I'm inclined to believe him. Considering Azzaro PH goes for around $40 a bottle at the shop next to the pharmacy in the mall near my flat, I very much doubt there's any natural ambergris, though, as this is quite a pricy ingredient. Have you compared vintage Azzaro with a recent bottle?
I got out my Nivea Dry deo stick (for sports). I would say it shares around 60% of its notes with the APH drydown on my right arm. But I am younger than you, and deodorants and commercial fragrance (i.e. in soaps, cleaning liquids, etc.) were my first introduction to ingredients like linalool and the fougere style, and it may be that this association is too strong for me to be able to break away from it. There's an interesting polarisation on Basenotes and Fragrantica where many reviewers speak like you, and many others share my view; I wonder if that's what it is.
Regarding Nicolai New York, I quite liked the opening, but the drydown, to my nose at least, smells like (very dry, dusty) dirt mixed with amber. I have many interesting ambers, such as Masque's or Sultan Pasha's, and I prefer them. I still do not understand the reason for which this scent is so highly spoken of.
As to the price - they've been making it in huge volumes for almost 30 years, so I don't think the retail price is reflective of the ingredients. I strongly suspect that price is only very loosely (if at all) correlated with cost of ingredients in the industry as a whole.
New York is also supposedly reformulated with the new IFRA regulations, and I have an older bottle of that too. I don't know how it's changed.
I should also say that I'm a big fan of Luca Turin, and I'm aware that all of these scents I'm mentioning are among his favorites. I'm probably unconsciously biased towards them because of his reviews (though I don't like all of his favorite scents). I'm sure I was also influenced by the better written reviews on Basenotes when I used to spend time there. In particular, the ongoing passionate debates about Kouros made me return to it dozens of times, despite the fact that I had to wash it off in a panic the first several times I tried it.