gs03 (Biehl Parfumkunstwerke)

Full disclosure: Jeffrey Dame sent me my sample of gs03, along with a few other samples from the biehl line. If you are automatically assuming that I am now a shill for Jeffrey Dame, stop reading. In truth, I'm observing the performances of these fragrances based on my tastes, and my reference points. I am not paid to write these reviews, nor am I under any restrictive "agreement clauses" based on Mr. Dame granting me an interview. This review is as objective as it can be.

Gs03 is one of the nicer citrus-floral eau de cologne-style fragrances on the market today. I could get into a complicated description of the perfume's structure and its lovely note pyramid, but I warn you, gs03 is not a perfume to be strip-sampled. There is no reliable way to sniff its sillage from paper and get any accurate sense of its structure. When it hits skin, and only when it hits skin, the true nature of this aromatic perfume unfolds.

Based on what I had read about Geza Schoen, I thought gs03 would smell like Iso-E Super with "trimmings," and little else. The man has a reputation for overusing this sometimes controversial aroma chemical. There are people who suffer from acute sensitivity to Iso-E Super, and they can't take more than a few seconds of it. Think of it as the olfactory equivalent of fingernails on a chalk board. I myself am not especially fond of the stuff. Jean-Claude Ellena uses it better than most, but Terre D'Hermes bugs me a little, and I'm not even sensitive to Iso-E Super. Bleu de Chanel is another fragrance that utilizes the material a little heavy-handedly.

Its effect is hard to describe. Think fresh, transparent woodiness, only with more weight than dihydromyrcenol, and markedly less finesse to its character. Iso-E Super can be scratchy, and can even be the antithesis of anything perfume-like, if its balance is off. Fortunately Geza used it well in gs03, as it supplies a crisp, woody-fresh spine to a pretty neroli cologne. If Eau Sauvage and Acqua di Parma Colonia got together and had a child, it would be gs03. The lemon/mandarin/pink pepper accord of the top notes is just as clear and fresh as Dior's citrus, and the musky vetiver base comes directly from Colonia. Neroli is prominent throughout the lifespan of the scent, and body heat elicits the sweetest little musk note this side of the Mississippi. There's also some fresh juniper to greenergize (new word) the iris, orange blossom, and castoreum in gs03's cool, ever-beating heart. Very nice.

Eventually the musk relaxes (combined with the florals, it sorta smells like hemp for an hour or so), and a light cedar note takes over, undoubtedly due to the Iso-E Super. Gs03 is a pleasantly modern take on the classical eau de cologne theme, and it's not spoon-bendingly amazing or anything - it's just a comfortable arrangement of clean woody notes atop a distinctive vetiver/cedar base. Projection is about four or five inches from the body, and longevity is a solid ten hours. You can tell Geza attended the Ellena school of material minimalism, because almost all of gs03's modest little handful of notes are apparent from the outset, and all live up to their fullest potential. Would I buy this? No, but not because I don't like it. My stance with EDCs has always been that cheaper (and more abundant) is better, so going down the niche line is, for me, completely unnecessary. However, I can see gs03 appealing to guys and gals who live in warmer climates, and want something a bit more "au courant" and "metro" in the shimmery-fresh fragrance department.


  1. I received some samples also, and am still in the process of testing them all. Based on initial impressions, this scent was interesting because it did seem to morph from a cologne to a woody-fresh floral in the course of its development. It reminded me of Dior J'Adore L'Eau Cologne Florale (I am paraphrasing wildly here), and I do plan to get my sample of that out and see if I am on to something. And of course I wouldn't be surprised if it is quite different on your male skin.

    1. See if you can detect any artemisia and/or castoreum, like an outright castoreum note, because I felt they were there, but sort of hiding behind the florals and Iso-E.

    2. Gosh, I don't think so, but my sampling is ongoing, so I will have another crack at it!


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