Tyrannosaurus Rex marks the pairing of two popular figures in the niche world: Victor Wong‘s Zoologist brand and Antonio Gardoni, the celebrated perfumer. Together, they sought to create a “gargantuan” fragrance that was not only worthy of the T-Rex associations but also one which they specifically wanted to evoke the smoky, dark, hot, and fiery Cretaceous period in which he lived, a time where ferocious beasts ripped apart delicate florals amidst dark woods set alight by smoldering flames.
It’s been a long time since a new release gave me a frisson of instant joy, longer still since one moved me to write reams of pages upon first sniff. Ensar Oud‘s newest fragrance, EO No 2 parfum, did precisely that. Within moments of spraying, I rushed to dig up a yellow legal pad, my head filled with the story of what the fragrance conjured up, so real that I practically saw the sentences in my head, saw the visions of what the notes evoked. It was a moment of pure olfactory delight, something which has been all too rare for me lately.
Names have a funny way of shaping one’s expectations, so when Masque Milano told me that the name of its forthcoming scent would be “Hemingway” and a tribute to the author, I had a certain olfactory profile in mind. I associate the author with the scent of rum, whisky, bourbon, and cigars, but Hemingway the fragrance was something quite different. To my surprise, however, alcohol did end up being unexpectedly involved, even if it was not actually intended to be a part of the scent and even if it wasn’t the sort that I had expected.
Rich, bold, powerhouse fragrances for a bargain price, what could be better? There is a definite advantage in going vintage, and Giorgio For Men is a perfect example of why: addictive patchouli is layered with loads of genuine oakmoss, Cuir de Russie-style birch leather, and gales of spices and amber, then lashed with honey, iris-orris butter, sandalwood, citruses, dry cedar, chocolate, vanilla, and silky cream. It’s all presented in a seamless, complex, long-lasting and audaciously intense concoction with parallels to both vintage legends and modern niche, except Giorgio costs a pittance of the price of most fragrances in those categories and it also contains high levels of raw materials now limited or banned in perfumery.
For a mere $30, I purchased a large, 95% full, 120 ml or 4 oz bottle whose scent bore echoes of fragrances which came both long before it and long after it: legends like vintage Givenchy Gentleman and popular modern creations like Serge Lutens’ Borneo 1834, Chanel‘s Coromandel, and Guerlain‘s LIDGE. Throughout its long lifespan, Giorgio’s character changed from the ruggedly polished but elegant 1980s alpha male to the unisex, modern, and addictively, delectably cuddly. While there are a handful of small issues with the fragrance, mostly if one sprays a lot of it, they’re minor in the overall scheme of things and the low price makes them easy to ignore. In short, this is a scent well worth looking up.