9/24/11

1-12 (Halston)


Green as a color doesn't do much for me, but as an olfactory facet, it's the most important quality something can have. If it smells green, it's in. The less embellished green notes are by other "colors" in the olfactory rainbow, the better. Taking this into account, Halston's second masculine release, 1-12, is terrific stuff.

Released in 1976, 1-12, like its older brother Z-14, is a fragrance I've passed by countless times without stopping for a sniff. I'm somewhat disinterested in Halston - he's a bit before my time, and the brand doesn't seem all that relevant anymore, at least not to anyone I know. But that doesn't excuse my tardiness in trying his scents. Some are truly wonderful products, and the fact that they still grace store shelves is a testament to their quality. Another nice feature: they're cheap!

1-12 opens with the brightest lemon and galbanum I've ever smelled. The galbanum is front and center, sending a bracingly herbal chill down the scent's spine. About thirty seconds after application the pine shows up, complimented with the verdant spiciness of lavender, carnation and juniper, and bolstered with light touches of cedar and the earthiness of oak moss, tree moss, and more galbanum. All are very much there and identifiable, blended, but with excellent separation. 1-12 yields the sillage of a 1970s cologne, somewhere between a leathery and fresh chypre scent profile. It hugs other fresh masculine chypres like Chanel Pour Monsieur, Nino Cerruti, and Grey Flannel, although it has much less to do with the latter than those on basenotes might have you believe. Although they're of equal greenness, and have the same release date, neither scent shares much in common beyond their chart classification. 1-12 does remind me a little of the dark evergreen chypre Yatagan, which makes sense. Both frags were made by perfumer Vincent Marcello. Frankly, I like this a little better than Yatagan, which trends too far into woody chypre territory for my taste. But it also reminds me of Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland, a classical green fougère. 1-12 has a far greener and less-musky bend to it, with a drydown that is reminiscent of a leaf.

It's a cologne, and the scent doesn't have the longest lifespan, but it's pretty heady for something that could justifiably fade after ten minutes. I get much longer than that, at least ninety minutes before the tonka and moss drydown arrives. The impression it leaves is one of something green, fresh, and utterly masculine. They say men used to smell like that. My sincerest hope is that they return to smelling like that again, and soon.

1-12 is proof that masculine perfumery can be of Ivory Tower quality at Bohemian prices, and the size of the price tag isn't always correlative to caliber. It's also a great option for he who wants to smell original without sacrificing his sense of class, or his sex appeal.






























11 comments:

  1. I just fell in love with this fragrance and they happen to have a half dozen bottles of it at a local Winner's for $9.95. It would be a steal at five times that price. It's just great from start to finish and has so many beautiful facets. "green, fresh, and utterly masculine" is the perfect description.

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    1. It's an unsung hero of the perfume world. Often compared to Grey Flannel and in many ways more accessible than Beene's bitter chypre, I can safely say that any green lover would want this around at all times. Glad you like it!

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    2. YeahI sampled Grey Flannel and didn't like it nearly as much as 1-12. It's definitely more accessible then GF. Grey Flannel is a rough ride at time and for such a strong green frag 1-12 still remains smooth throughout. I just love the musk base of this fragrance. I'm a fan of all Narciso Rodriguez's men's line and to me this is the father. More complex and wiser, still able to show the kid a few tricks. It's been called dated but I don't see that at all.

      On a related but tangental note. Have you ever tried Cofinluxe Taxi? Another insanely cheap but amazing fresh scent that Shamu1 lead me too. One of Mark Buxton's early creation from what I can gather. It's green and soapy like 1-12 but in a creamy less floral way. Hideous bottle and packaging but the juice inside is amazing in my opinion. I think I read you like Irish Spring smell and to my nose it has a bit of that vibe going on. Just creamy goodness for a song. I'd be interested in reading a review from you.

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    3. per your request, I jumped over to Amazon and bought a bottle of Taxi, and yeah you're right, it's cheap! Early Mark Buxton means this is going to be good. I recall reading about Taxi on Shamu's blog and thinking I'd like it. So we'll see what happens. Some unusual shipping restrictions on this so I have no idea when it'll come in, but I imagine I'll have it sometime next week. I'll write about it when I get my hands on it. Thanks for reminding me about Taxi, I appreciate that.

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    4. No problem. It's one of those frags I love keeping to myself but find it hard not to tell others about it. I live in Toronto and was lucky to find some at a local discounters for $15. I haven't tried Irish Springs soap in a while though so if I'm way off then don't hate me. The anise and nutmeg just add a light sweetness I remember Irish Springs having but maybe I'm confusing it with another soap. Either way it's solid and the price is ridiculous. Anyway I don't want to influence your review too much. Looking forward to seeing what you think.

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    5. Thanks, yeah Irish Spring itself has been reformulated, so I never go into a green soapy frag expecting it to match Irish Spring. If you don't already have it and haven't smelled it give Sung Homme a try. To this day it's the only perfume that matches Irish Spring almost exactly, but adds a little complexity and depth with a hint of an ashy tobacco thing going on. It's the exact same price as Taxi and probably of equal caliber. In any case, however it smells, if it's green and clean I'm sure to like it. I'll get back to you on this.

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    6. Yeah I've been meaning to give AS Homme a try since reading your review a while back but always get side tracked but others when I go out. I always see it around discount bins in the gift sets and still plan to give it a spin soon.

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    7. This is a good time of year to find the EDT/Aftershave set for around $15 (probably not hugely different in Canadian dollars) and the aftershave actually matches the EDT exactly, which is rare. If you do try it let me know what you think, it'll be interesting to hear another opinion on it.

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    8. I've tried Taxi, and I love it. Truly great stuff. thanks again for mentioning it!

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  2. You note that the perfumer as Vincent Marcello. Having worn Yatagan and smelled Private Collection, that makes sense. Can you tell us how you came by that information?

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  3. This post was written back when I was an active basenotes member, and I had a private discussion about 1-12 and Z-14. I'd tell you to refer to Off-Scenter's review, but he had them all deleted, which is a real shame because he was full of interesting information. 1-12 and Z-14 are the same fragrance with different structural proportions, and they are fascinating examples of how close (and different) perfume "mods" can be. Of the two I prefer 1-12 but can't wear it due to a nasal allergy to it. Z-14 causes the same allergy but to a lesser degree, and I can get through a day with it.

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