9/21/14

Windsor (Creed)


My Royal Blue Fairfield Wingback Chair From 1983,
To Be Reupholstered In Dark Red Leather.


Let's get this out of the way first: I don't like Windsor. I don't know if mine is the earlier or later release, and I don't care. This perfume could never smell good to me. There, that's out of the way.

I can certainly understand the appeal of the fragrance, however. Although it doesn't quite mesh to my nose, Windsor's structure is intended to be a sprightly splash of cold aromatics after an Old World English cologne, rife with clean eucalyptus, gin (essentially juniper with a cold, potato vodka off note), snowy pine, and a little warmth via rose, cedar, and musk. Though usually not mentioned in the pyramid, there's also an odd fruit blend with a distinctly butyric edge, which smells like pineapple layered under bergamot. Royal pineapple, perhaps? Whatevs. Not a fan.

It's clearly an attempt to appeal to guys who want that starched, upper-crust effect of older British masculines like Blenheim Bouquet and Arlington, using very high quality synthetics and a handful of naturals, and if you're someone who likes eucalyptus notes, very STRONG eucalyptus notes, you might love Windsor. Evidently many guys do, because this has always been a popular Creed. I'll go on record and state that I personally dislike eucalyptus in perfume for one reason only - it winds up being Vicks VapoRub. Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars to smell like Vicks?

Yet that's exactly how this smells, made a bit worse by an astringent gin note, and a surprisingly synthetic pine effect. It could be that my patience has worn thin, but I swear that this is the most synthetic of the latest round of Creeds I've worn. When I think of royal things, I think of crisp, timeless, streamlined design, elegant and conservative, perfectly balanced, like my old wingback chair above.

Windsor is none of those things.





9/13/14

Monsieur Rochas Concentrée (Rochas)




The above poster appears to be for the original Monsieur Rochas after shave, a product that was likely discontinued before the EDT and its "concentrée" version (why not just call it an EDP?), which is a shame. This is another oldie by the celebrated Guy Robert, whose influence on Rochas' masculines is felt strongest here. Monsieur is a crisp, lavender-strong fougère with a pleasantly grassy chamomile and coumarin heart accord, somewhat reminiscent of Moustache, but softer and arguably a bit less synthetic smelling. It's quite a nice fragrance.

Unlike Moustache, this composition possesses a certain timelessness, its ambivalence toward a specific period attributable to a lucidly naturalistic pyramid of earthy notes. Its pert and crystal-clear bergamot, galbanum, and lavender intro smoothly segues into a patchouli and vetiver accord. These dry green elements hold for about fifteen minutes before parting way for a central chamomile note, and from that point the fragrance is basically chamomile, coumarin, hints of herbal rosemary and sage, amber, and a very thin musk. Chamomile has a curiously flat, semisweet aroma. Here it manages to shine unadulterated, giving Monsieur Rochas' fougère qualities a unique dimensionality beyond poisonously hay-like coumarin.

As always, this is a vintage scent that suffers somewhat from age. Typically fragrances like this suffer from weakened top notes and at least marginal imbalances in the courses of their drydowns. These issues manifest in a kind of structural compression, with whatever is left of top notes vanishing in seconds to leave only the strongest of base notes, usually any combination of tonka, birch tar, oakmoss, and/or musk. Faded heart notes may be detectable for a minute or two, but they're usually gone altogether. An example of this is is Jacqueline Cochran Grey Flannel, where an extremely brief citrus and galbanum top note almost immediately become a concentration of violet ionones and synthetic sandalwood, with no real herbal or mossy textures.

Monsieur has, as far as I can tell, survived with more. The citrus notes yield within ten seconds to lavender and powdery galbanum, but fleeting bergamot is no big deal. Heart notes of carnation, cinnamon, vetiver, oakmoss, tree moss, and cardamom are very, very faint, more of the ghost effect mentioned before, but at least they're legible for a few minutes before chamomile and a handful of base notes take over the show to the end. What remains of this classic smells brutally frank, elegantly masculine in an all business sort of way, and somewhat memorable thanks to the chamomile. If you enjoy fragrances like Pino Silvestre, Moustache, Agua Brava, and Davidoff's classics, you'll probably love this.




9/6/14

Vi-Jon "Spice Scent" Aftershave



Ever since Proctor & Gamble reformulated Old Spice for at least the second or third time since its initial release, fans have sought "vintage" bottles and viable alternatives to the Shulton version that most wearers remember. I've owned and worn Shulton Old Spice from the seventies or eighties (its exact vintage wasn't clear), and presently own and wear the current stuff. While the Shulton version was pleasant, it lasted all of two minutes on skin before vanishing completely, its fizzy citrus and cinnamon spice scent literally becoming little more than a musky staleness, the afterglow of bar soap after a bath. Wetshavers have attributed its fleeting longevity to any number of things - its cologne strength (presumably even lighter in the aftershave), its cheapness, its potential old age - but I felt the main problem with Shulton's formula was its lack of dimensionality beyond top notes. As Luca Turin said, "A man is a woman consisting entirely of top notes."

Badger & Blade's forums are alive with comments about Indian Old Spice, the perfect answer to P&G's notorious reform, but I've never smelled it. The details on it are sketchy. Supposedly Shulton never closed down its Indian production line, even after shuttering every operation in the West (although I believe Menezes Cosmetics actually took over the Indian formula), and those lucky southeast Asians from Calcutta to Bangalore smell incredible, while the rest of us smell like cheap synthetics. Poke through the whole mess with enough patience, and voices of dissent are found. While many appreciate the Indian version, others feel it is noticeably different from the American stuff, and not really worth the hunt. I think P&G's version is about 90% the same as Shulton's with the remaining 10% difference attributable to concentration and the addition of a noticeably potent vanilla in the base, which gives the cologne a better lifespan than its predecessor. But there's another element to the Old Spice saga that gives old-schoolers new hope: Vi-Jon "Dollar Store" Spice Scent, also often referred to as the "Ivy Club" version of Old Spice.

Supposedly Vi-Jon's Old Spice clone is more faithful to the Shulton version than P&G's, and the kicker is that it costs a buck and change from your local Family Dollar (or whatever your local dollar store is called). I've seen it at Dollar Tree, Ocean State Job Lot, and X-Pect Discounts also, which may just be local Connecticut outlets. In May I found it at CVS, sporting the CVS generic label. I hadn't been to a CVS in years, not since their pharmacy made a colossal mistake on an expensive prescription and then gave me incredible attitude when I asked them to rectify it. A new store was erected in Oxford a few years ago, and I stopped by there on my way home to grab some odds and ends that I needed. I decided to let my old grudge go and give CVS another chance. Naturally I wandered into the shaving aisle, and was pleasantly surprised to find Vi-Jon's clone of every drugstore aftershave, each standing antagonistically beside its template, and all for a dollar less.

How does Vi-Jon rate? I like it, but I don't find it to be all that different from P&G's Old Spice, although it is significantly lighter, a little airier, and way weaker, lasting fifteen minutes tops. P&G's formula walks on for a good three hours after application, albeit at a very powdery and diffuse pace. I do recognize that Vi-Jon's initial five or six seconds on skin are perceptibly more textured and fizzy than P&G's, but after that extremely brief duration the formula resolves into a close match, becoming muskier and rather powdery. When smelling the two versions side by side, my nose cancels them both out, which tells me their differences are negligible at best. The bottom line here is easy to see: if you like Shulton's Old Spice but can't be bothered to hunt down vintage bottles, P&G's Old Spice or Vi-Jon's Spice Scent are equally good replacements.




9/2/14

Tuscany Per Uomo (Estée Lauder)



My bottle of Tuscany was manufactured in June, 2011, which makes it a recent formula, although presumably not the latest and greatest. I understand this fragrance has suffered tremendously from reformulation, to the point where its fans no longer want to buy new bottles. They seek only "vintage" and say that the old stuff was much richer and ballsier in the woodsy-herbal department. I'm probably writing in error when I say this, but based on what I've read, I can't imagine the original version was a particularly interesting old-school masculine. There are only so many ways you can take citrus, lavender, "Mediterranean" herbs, patchouli, tamed floral notes, synthetic sandalwood, and synthetic musk, and make them smell unique together. Azzaro Pour Homme already has quite the little Italian sports car with that package, as does Krizia Uomo, Quorum, and the original Davidoff scent. I think Azzaro's fougère is Tuscany's main problem, and was likely the fragrance that prevented Lauder's scent from dominating its corner of the men's market at the time. As far as the success of the eighties and nineties Aramis line goes, the brand has always been the Cyndi Lauper to someone else's Madonna anyway.

Owning and wearing the current stuff with no knowledge of the original is neither here nor there to me, though. What matters to me is that the current fragrance possesses the above laundry list of typical eighties genre notes, yet somehow manages to smell unlike any other middle class designer scent I've ever worn before. I say "middle class" because Tuscany does resemble an upscale designer scent in the heart and base, but I'll get to that in a moment. First, the start of the perfume on skin - expect an Azzaro effect in those first ten minutes, but with a defter handling of the anisic citrus/lavender accord, due mainly to a more naturalistic rendition of citrus, a much subtler use of anise, and a very Moustache-like blending of lavender into the potent citrus, almost to an abstract degree. Never does the lavender leap out and smack my nose, like it does in Azzaro PH. Instead, a vibrant accord of bergamot, lemon, and lime assails me, smelling very juicy and fresh. This crisp, shimmery citrus intro remains a deciding factor for how interesting Tuscany eventually becomes. First and foremost, it is a refreshing execution of citrus rarely found in a scent of any pedigree. It smells not of cleaning agents (as an accidental over-application of Moustache might), or of extra-fine cold-pressed soap (4711), but of very real fruits blended in discreet harmony. I really admire this aspect of the scent.

Two hours later an interesting note peeks through the dusting of herbs and spices. It's a citric note with a sweetly floral edge, which creates the illusion of citrus lasting well past the top note phase. This note is very clearly neroli, with a bit of bitter orange rind sprinkled on it, and its clarity puts Tuscany squarely beside Creed's Orange Spice for the remainder of its drydown. I feel no qualms in saying that the materials used for this floral accord are the exact same materials used in Orange Spice, only here they're used in a much lower concentration. There's just enough anise, patchouli, and zesty caraway to maintain complexity and herbal texture, yet Tuscany carries itself as a bracing citrus composition (perhaps with a drop of Hedione in the mix) for five hours before fading away to a skin musk. To design Tuscany as a citrus fougère makes perfect sense from a conceptual standpoint. I attended college in Italy in 2004, visited Tuscany, and stayed for a few nights in Florence. The Tuscan region is not known for growing oranges, except the bitter Chinotto orange, yet it is home to a slew of local recipes that feature the fruit in various salads, pastries, and even French-derived duck dishes. Funnily enough, Italian Fanta (the soda) is in my experience the fruitiest and most citric version available in mainland Europe, and is far superior to French, German, Czech, Irish, and English Fanta. And there's always Limoncello. Even in crap beverages, the Italians take citrus seriously.

Lauder is not an Italian brand, and the minds behind this perfume had no vested interest in being truly representative of the region, but it is a very well made EDT with a sublime citrus component, making it a desirable addition to the collection of any lover of twentieth century fougères. If you enjoy Azzaro PH but always wished its relatively harsh citrus and lavender notes were better calibrated, Tuscany is for you. I suppose seeking out the original formula is a worthy pursuit if you're interested in richer patchouli and sandalwood notes, provided its naturals and synthetics survived the decades intact. Just keep in mind that the wonderful citrus notes are not likely to have made it through thirty years unscathed. If my description of this perfume intrigues you more, then purchase Azzaro PH for your woodier fern variant on this theme, and go for the recent version of Tuscany for a brighter, fresher take on the Italianate fougère. My experience with the Aramis line is currently limited to the original Aramis and Tuscany, but now that I've worn the latter scent, I seriously want to give Havana, JHL, and New West a try also.





8/30/14

Soon To Be The Coziest Room In America, and a Super Quick Review Of The One Gentleman (Dolce & Gabbana)


A Work In Progress

It's been another This Old House sort of month here in the fair hills of New England. There's a big difference between living in your own house vs. living in a room, or an apartment. Or someone else's house, for that matter. My one rule with my new home is to avoid buying furniture from IKEA. Not that there's anything wrong with owning IKEA products, it's just that I'm not 19 and living in a dorm room anymore. And even if I was, I'd probably feel like an American cliché if my decor consisted entirely of IKEA furniture. Plus, there's that awful thing now where people step into a sleek, modern-looking room, look around, and immediately say, "IKEA?" If they do that with my house, I want to be able to say with total honestly, "Nope."

I finally finished painting the living room, about two weeks ago now. It took me two months to paint it. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but one of the nice little features of owning a "midcentury modest" house is having plaster walls with genuine plaster crown molding. It's a mixed blessing, though. The molding is more striking than any prefab molding for sale at Home Depot, but its permanence means you can't fudge the details in a paint job, nor can you take it down to attend to the intricacies of the cut. That means I had to go up on a ladder with Q-tips and painstakingly paint the molding with them. That task, along with taping and painting the built-in bookshelf, took forever.

I finished just in time. My walls had barely dried when my furniture started arriving. I ordered a couch from Overstock.com, and an area rug to match. The rug came first, with no problems (it's very pretty, as you can see above), but the couch arrived severely damaged. It looked as though a forklift had missed its mark and plowed through the rear left leg, tearing a ragged gash in the fabric and leaving part of the frame in a million splintered pieces. I contacted Overstock and they declined to pick up the damaged goods, but offered to send me a replacement free of charge. About a week and half later the replacement arrived, also severely damaged, this time with an eight-inch gash along the top cushion. At this point delivery was refused, and I wrangled a full refund on the first couch. The damage has since been fixed, and you'd never know anything happened.

The current ongoing saga concerns my curtains. I ordered them from Best Window Treatments, a company in CA that specializes in custom curtains. They're not cheap, but they're nice. I ordered two panels when I should have ordered four. The two I received are up, a lovely spice color, and I ordered two more to go with them. Three weeks later I received the second set of panels, but they were the wrong color, so I sent them back on their dime, using a label they emailed me. More time goes by, and eventually I realize I still don't have curtains, so I call them to check. They tell me the replacement curtains were delivered two days ago. I have no idea what happened to those curtains, although I wonder if someone stole them off my front step. All I know is, I never received them. I've been told that a third set of panels is being sent to my alternate address, and that a Fed Ex guy will be visiting me to go over what happened with their delivery, but so far neither has arrived.

Today however I visited an antique store for the second time this month to purchase an old desk that I've had my eye on. In the picture above you can see a wooden piece holding a lamp on the far right - that's the "new" desk, pictured in full below. It's really a very old desk from the 1950s by The Maddox Table Company, which was originally headquartered in Jamestown, NY. It's a beautiful mahogany piece to go along with my cherry coffee table and accent chest.


It's in terrific condition, Pattern No. 464, and it was only $175. It even came with a piece of glass on the top that has these great molded glass feet to hold it just over the surface and prevent scratching. I love old items like this, and even though it took three hours to clean them, I'm really happy with how the brass handles on the drawers look. Originally they were a dark grey, almost black, they were so dirty. They shined up nicely, and really bring the piece back to life.

My next project is my 250 sq ft kitchen, which literally has a hundred cabinets. This one has been in the planning stages all week, with colors finally settled on, Congoleum flooring pretty much selected (although now I'm wondering if I should go with two different color tiles instead of the same color), and Formica still being selected, very carefully. I've located a manufacturer of metal trim for kitchen counters, and they have a few designs in the old-school fifties style, with the lines. That has me psyched. What doesn't have me quite as psyched is the prospect of having to power-sand and paint a hundred cabinets. I've also been taking measurements around the house, and a surplus door from Home Depot may or may not fit in the basement. The addition of another floor layer in the kitchen will require some serious shaving of the cabinet unit over the fridge, if I ever hope to get a fridge in there again (it's going to be vertically challenged once the Congoleum is put in). Oh, and ADT is coming in three weeks to install security. Tomorrow I have to get concrete to patch up the front steps. And, and, and . . . I have to get a chimney sweep over ASAP. It never ends.

As you can imagine, this leaves me little time for perfume. In between the projects I managed to try my long-standing sample of The One Gentleman by D&G, which I'd completely forgotten about. I didn't really have any preconceived notions about this fragrance prior to wearing it, so my reaction to it after two wearings was pretty unbiased. It was also, unfortunately, quite visceral. I really don't like this scent. The second time around I took a look at some Fragrantica reviews, and only one hit the nail on the head for me, summing it up by saying it smelled crude and unpleasant. That's exactly right. This perfume is totally forgettable from beginning to end. It has that department store "rasp" that several middle shelf masculines exhibit these days, including things like Terre d'Hermes and Bleu de Chanel. Some people blame Iso E Super. I don't attribute the unpleasantness to Iso E though. Jim Gehr mentioned to me on Google+ that Iso E is very subtle, hypoallergenic, and almost odorless altogether, used primarily as a texturizing agent more than a singular note. I have some pure, unadulterated Iso E, and it's very soft and smooth.

There's definitely Iso E in The One Gentleman, but I blame the scratchy nastiness on whatever aroma chemicals are used to create its "suede" note. Suede is one of those random notes that some brands have been trying to pass off as "manly." So far every suede note I've encountered has smelled neutered and rough. Suede dominates the heart of T.O.G., but it's smooshed up between an unwieldy synthetic lavender, which for some reason is riddled with anosmia-inducing black pepper, and a bare vanilla base note that is as bland as it is unbalanced. The white-musky blah-ness of that vanilla note winds up being the whole story after forty minutes or so. Where does that leave me? The marketing for this one is typical Men's Mag fare, with Matthew McConaughey in a tux looking very unconvincingly dapper. These prints project glamour and worldliness, but what I get instead is cheapness that goes nowhere. If D&G promised me a box of Macaroons from Ladurée, I'd expect a packet of Pop Tarts instead.

Anyhow, enjoy the rest of your Labor Day Weekend, and I'll see you in September!




8/23/14

Joint Pour Homme (Roccobarocco)



I happened across Roccobarocco's Joint recently, and owning it has clarified a few things for me. It's a favorite of someone I know, and it is something held up as a bit of a masterpiece in the world of vintage masculines. To read about it, one would think that Joint defines the superiority of vintage perfumes over reformulations and recent releases, particularly niche releases. I expected it to be very heavy and deep for the duration of its presumably long lifespan on my skin, but I also expected its strength to be a product of unbalanced accords, due to its age. I was slightly wrong.

It begins with a gorgeous array of accords, but it's obvious from the very first moment that it's a clone of Zino by Davidoff. The resemblance is undeniable and the treatment of lavender in both fragrances is the same. The late eighties and early nineties saw the rise of the "dusky" lavender note in masculine perfumes, a sort of super-soapy, slightly toasted herbal blend that smells incredibly burly and aromatic. It is present in Zino, Joint, and Vermeil for Men. It's also present in Kouros (perhaps one of the first to showcase it) and Lapidus Pour Homme. This type of lavender is always highly blended with other rich aromatics, usually patchouli, rosewood, tobacco, artemisia, orris, sandalwood, and a variety of animalic musks. Joint possesses all of these notes, in conjunction with the dusky, burly lavender. For an even clearer idea of how this lavender smells in isolation from this kind of tightly aromatic blend, I recommend trying vintage Bleu Marine by Pierre Cardin. Time has wasted most of the aromatics in that one, likely because the materials used for its construction were cheaper naturals, but the sole remaining "power note" in Bleu's pyramid is lavender.

Like Zino, Joint quickly becomes dark and dry, its excellent note separation yielding various textures of Sicilian lemon, civet, honey, sage, castoreum (more vanillic than animalic), tobacco, rosewood, coumarin, vetiver, orris, sandalwood, labdanum, rose, coriander, cardamom, caraway, frankincense, opoponax, carnation, and amber. Although I can detect each of these elements in the mix, the notes that really stand out and dominate the body of the scent are lavender, honey, tobacco, rosewood, sandalwood, labdanum, and amber. The lemon, lavender, coumarin, and civet give the extended intro a decidedly "fougeriental" feel, a definite hybridization of fern and spicy amber facets. Eventually, after thirty minutes, the woods become smoother and more pronounced, and the whole thing begins to smell like a cross between Zino and Vermeil for Men. I'm impressed by the beauty of these accords, and by their relatively natural effect, as nothing smells particularly chemical or crass, although there is an obviously synthetic edge to the woods. Despite that, it's a very nice scent.

My enlightenment occurs at the forty-five minute mark, when something interesting occurs: Joint suddenly loses focus and balance. It's as if someone suddenly deflated its big red balloon. The woods begin to fuzz out, rather severely, and the tobacco slips away. The vanillic castoreum, which smells like the processed food flavoring in high concentration, suddenly defines the amber, and a semisweet blush of nondescript earthiness is washed out by a honey-like white musk. At this point it's clear that two things have influenced past assessments of Joint. One, the fragrance is shockingly top heavy, to the point where it's almost as if the top notes are the fragrance in full, extended in concentration alone. Indeed, that initial spray is so intense and loud and full of complementary materials that one could only expect it to last well into the heart phase, but that heart barely exists. Once the juice has mixed with natural skin oils, its dissipation occurs, and the power goes out.

The second issue is that time has effected the balance of the fragrance. Joint has been out of production for twenty years, and my bottle is likely that old, if not older. For anyone to say that this fragrance is a good example of how rich and natural and powerful vintage designer masculines can be negates the prime effect of degradation that has obviously occurred here. Does my bottle of Joint smell very good? Yes. As such, one could argue that it has not "turned" or "gone bad," but there's a better definition of those terms - the fragrance is no longer balanced, and no longer smells exactly as it should. In this case, the drydown was effected instead of the top notes, which is certainly atypical of vintage degradation, but is still degradation nonetheless. Also there's the question of whether this weakened, somewhat off balance drydown and sub-par longevity can be excused by the brilliance of the first few minutes. Although it's clear that Joint is a lovely composition, it's also clear that it's derivative, and doesn't add much to the genre of burly tobacco-themed scents from its period. Zino is better, in my opinion, and can still be had for much less money. Vermeil is also better, and also much cheaper, and it's arguably the best of the three.

Based on my experience with Joint, I continue to believe that some (not all) lovers of vintage perfumes live in a deeply-rooted and psychologically complex state of denial about the true quality and value of vintage fragrances. I can't help but wonder if their noses are simply not attuned to detecting when notes have gone stale, or when whole accords have flattened and weakened and ruined structural balance and longevity. These changes are often subtle and can perhaps be intentionally overlooked in favor of enjoying whatever remains, but as with other vintages, such deterioration is clearly present in this fragrance. It's still wearable, and still performs fairly well considering its age, but it definitely doesn't smell the way it did fifteen years ago.

Joint can be had in 1 oz and 1.7 oz sizes on Ebay for under $40 (the 1 oz is currently $29.99), and that's exactly what it's worth in my opinion. I paid $33 for my 1.7 oz bottle, which I bought at a brick and mortar shop in CT. If it weren't for the technically advanced skillfulness of its blend and the high quality of its materials, I'd find fault with anyone claiming it's worth owning at all. But given that its structure is, at least for most of an hour, quite good and memorable, I'd say that fans of this sort of darkly animalic gentlemen's club scent should consider $35 for Joint money well spent.





8/20/14

Jupiter to Juno (Garner James)


Candis Cayne

Just the name of this perfume had me fascinated, and it was expanded upon in a note from Jim:
"Originally made for my brother's wedding gift. Entire wedding party wore this, and the entire wedding was gifted 5 ml roll ons."
So I guess it's literally based on the passing of a man to a woman in matrimony, in this case the perfumer's brother. What a lucky wedding party that was, to have this perfume in the air, because true to form, it is incredible. The complete ingredient list includes sweet orange oil, grapefruit EO, lemon EO, clementine SCO2, rose maroc absolute, orange blossom absolute, geranium bourbon EO, atlas cedar EO, oakmoss absolute, fir balsam absolute, patchouli SCO2, tonka bean absolute, vetiver Haiti SCO2, Allyl Amyl Glycolate, Methyl Pamplemousse, Linalool, Stemone, Lilial, Hedione, Citronellol, and Iso E. Of the scents I received from Jim, Jupiter to Juno is the breeziest, a distinctly casual affair that lasts an average of five hours on skin (six on fabric) with moderate application. My sense is that this fragrance was sent to me not so much as a showpiece (Jim has Black Antlers and Nature Boy for that), but as an indicator of how to use Iso E correctly and effectively. Of course, it is also a lovely composition.

JtJ begins with a super-sweet citrus accord, accented peripherally with orange blossom, setting a decidedly fresh, feminine, fruity, and "fun" tone. Its quality is breathtaking. The fragrance's heart accord is quite floral, but also woody, with the delicate sweetness of rose and orange blossom wafting lightly across drier notes of cedar, balsam, patchouli, and vetiver, with a bit of ambery tonka for warmth, and Iso E for lift and clarity of texture. Unlike most woody perfumes, JtJ's woods are blended softy enough to allow their grains to peek through the leaves, imparting a dusty quality to the scent. The base adopts this same smooth, softly grained tonality, and reminds me most of the simple woody base of Cotton Club by Jeanne Arthes. In fact, I have JtJ on one wrist and Cotton Club on the other as I type this, and though the two are different, their similarities are notable. The fruity Juno top notes segue effortlessly into the suave, aftershavey woodsiness of Jupiter.

To me, fragrances like this are olfactory gender prisms, beautiful but challenging for some to understand, and perhaps wear. Another example of such a scent is Joop! Jump, which is derived from Cool Water and Allure Homme, yet sits several notches higher on the floral scale, to the point of seeming downright frilly-femme at various stages of its drydown. At a wedding, surrounded by flowers and liquors and sweets, Jupiter to Juno is an easy one, as it blends right in. I'm comfortable wearing anything anywhere anyway, so it's not a big deal for me to wear this to work or to a restaurant with friends, but I could see how some men and women might be thrown for a loop by it. Maybe it's perfect for a hot date, maybe not. Maybe only to the movies, or on a Sunday drive. I think it's a brilliant exercise in citrus, floral, and wood textures, executed in a style consistent with a legion of laid-back twenty-first century blue jean juices. This one just happens to smell like a million bucks.