Fragrance Flashback

Breaking The Space-Time Continuum: Looking back to see the future. These are a few of the fragrances that I grew up on. Though I haven’t really used them since back in the day I’ve been inspired to know they are still available and still very much appreciated, obviously standing the test of time. Normally I am only looking forward, and suggest all to do so, but every blue moon it’s a lot of fun to journey to the land of no return, or is that the land of the lost? No worries, let me show you the ropes, if memory serves me right. I try so hard not to date myself, but couldn’t resist taking this trip. Let’s take a deep dive into two decades of fragrances originally circulating between 1973-1993. Now, enjoy this trip, and it is a trip….drop that ghetto blastah!

Special Thanks: Early Greek!

Azzaro Pour Homme (1978)
Noses: Gerard Anthony & Richard Wirtz

It’s like some strange homecoming with this one. I literally have not had my nose on this since 1983 or so. The notes are welcoming, calming full of the greatest hit notes of the era – the lavender, sage and softened anise are fuzzy and swelling. Honestly this is not the way I thought I remembered it, I was expecting it to seem ‘hotter’ and spicier. It’s not without it’s genuine spoils, however, it’s far more romantic than the memory recall allotted for. This comes off very British style EDT, reminds me of something from Burberry or maybe Lagerfeld. There’s a satin soapiness to the composition, likely the lavender and sandalwood. There are a few notes in the composition that I cannot tune into whatsoever – specifically the vetiver and leather accord. Still, this goes down ever so smoothly and though it seems classic, it does not at all seem dated – but I think it will likely fit for anyone over thirty rather than the young folk. It ends with a silky musk that is masculine and comfy. (81%)

Notes: Lavender, Anise, Lemon, Caraway, Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Iris, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Cedar, Juniper Berries, Cardamom, Oakmoss, Leather, Amber, Musk, Tonka Bean

Aramis 900 (1973)
Nose: Bernard Chant

This was a regular in my rotation back in the early 80’s – it kind of contradicted the fact I was a true punk rock kid. That said, this has that same strange ‘pissy’ scent it had back in the Estee Lauder days as they have managed to somehow replicate the civet factor in a mischievous way. This 20’s version is far more astringent than the original, and less dimensional, yet they have the blue print down fairy well. This is green, bubbly to the point of sudsy, with the right bouquet of lily, rose, jasmine and more. There’s something so pungent here, its got a certain, how shall I say, zah-zah factor. I like it, not as much as its cousin Devin which I’ve associated so much about my coming of age, but I can recall using the entire line of ‘900’ products back in the day – they had an incredible shave cream and maybe even a body powder. The magic here is the nuances that move into the sensational oak moss accord, yes it’s still got that down pat. However there’s something missing, something more transparent here than the original formula. That’s on no big concern, I can still rock this “at my age”! 😉 (84%)

Notes: Coriander, Green Notes, Brazilian Rosewood, Bergamot, Lemon, Rose, Carnation, Geranium, Lily-of-the-Valley, Jasmine, Orris Root, Civet, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Amber

Eau de Rochas (1993)
Nose: Nicolas Mamounas

This is the only one in this grouping that I’m actually trying for the very first time, so no specific memories save seeing it floating around in the market at the time. I love the ‘one the rocks’ bottle design. From the top you get a delicious blast of spicy lime and other intoxicating citrus, yes! I’m a big fan of a blast of lime (especially combined with dark chocolate…I digress). So enveloping, so fresh, and it comes off like a crisp Eau de Toilette for sure. I almost don’t care where this goes, it’s got me in the citrus trance. This will be a Summer freshie in the 2021 rotation. If I could turn back time I may have turned (even) more heads back in the day, in my late 20’s! That said, as this progresses there are aldehydic highs and lows and florals that court the big bold fruits, but play second fiddle. There are spices that back-up and enhance the fragrance gently. The deeper you go with this one, the more it ray remind you of an icy martini, so refreshing. If you are looking for a timeless citrus blast that keeps things so lively and colorful, this is a no brainer buy, and I think you can get this one at a fantastic price if you do a quick search. The end phase, which is hours from first application, retains the initial zest accompanied by a wisp of mossy musk. (87%)

Notes: Lime, Lemon, Lemon Verbena, Bergamot, Aldehydes, Basil, Mandarin Orange, Coriander, Freesia, Lily-of-the-Valley, Jasmine, Carnation, Violet, Wild Rose, Pine, Artemisia, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Cedar, Musk, Amber

Halston 1-12 + Z-14 (1976 + 1974)
Noses: Francoise Caron; Vincent Marcello & Max Gavarry

Halston was truly a man way before his time, and 1-12 felt like a private privilege when I first donned it in the just post-disco era. This was the cooler and introspective of this duo and was the one that was in my very regular rotation, having likely purchased several bottles in the 80s. But I have to be honest with you, this 2020’s take on the original pales dramatically in comparison with the original. This is only vaguely in the same realm, instead of subtlety I get something that comes off more like detergent and depression. This has to be one of the biggest flops and really is a bit of an embarrassment to Halton’s glowing memory. The only thing this may get right is the carnation at its heart, but the oak moss is so phony and lab-driven that when I tried this I was so let down. Though the dry down has a bit of a musky lustre that’s not half bad you have to wait for it, making this quite the laboratory zombie monster. (68%)

1-12 Notes: Green Notes, Lemon, Galbanum, Bergamot, Basil, Mandarin Orange, Pine Tree Needles, Lavender, Juniper Berries, Carnation, Jasmine, Oakmoss, Labdanum, Cedar, Musk, Tonka Bean, Amber, Vanilla

Of the two “Halston” fragrances here this one comes a bit closer to the original in its spicy bite and evergreen meets vetiver meets citrus complex connectivity. But instead of the orinal this comes off more like the soap-on-a-rope discount version of the original. It’s got a pop but it’s all backed up with an artificial-ness that is rather unpleasant. Still, I might spray this on for a lil’ reminicin’ it feels like a sin to even own this to be quite honest. It still tickles the nose a bit like the OG did. This has a balance of ghostly resinous qualities and some nice cedar that makes this fisher than it would be without it, but it’s a half-baked attempt at trying to capture the soul of a fragrance of yesterday that is sadly lost in time. Still this is not a complete shambles like 1-12. It’s likely worth the very low ticket price. (77%)

Z-14 Notes: Cypress, Lemon, Bergamot, Green Notes, Basil, Gardenia, Cinnamon, Vetiver, Patchouli, Coriander, Cedar, Geranium, Jasmine, Leather, Oakmoss, Benzoin, Amber, Musk, Tonka Bean

Jacomo de Jacomo (1980)
Nose: Christian Mathieu

Still in its strange obelisk, slightly asymmetrical bottle this fragrance seems far more toned down from its original formulation, but it’s not too far off the mark. I can remember wearing this in high school, but now it seems like something a much older gent might wear much better. The combination of florals and spices has a scintillating sense of cool remove, a fragrance for deep contemplation. The clove/cinnamon combo really pops along with lavender and soft citrus. It gives off a smoky essence with a little leather for good measure. For me this fragrance has always smelled like a pastel shade of the color purple. This has plum evernia which I think is some form of oak moss. They have enriched the accord somehow, and retained a semblance of what it once was, someone did their research on this fragrance spicy/smoky classic. Quite a bold fragrance for an eau de toilette I must say. This was worth the discounted price, and I will surely wear this on occasion. (82%)

Notes: Basil, Rosemary, Galbanum, Lavender, Cardamom, Lime, Grapefruit, Sage, Rosewood, Geranium, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Cyclamen, Patchouli, Plum Tree Evernia, Cypress, Cedar, Iris, Amber, Musk

Quorum / Antonio Puig (1981)
Noses: Carlos Benaim, Max Gavarry & Rosendo Mateu

With its quintessential topaz-cut style presentation I was most curious about this fragrance from Spain that I put down way back in 1984 or so. While the bottle cap is now cheap plastic, the initial blast brought this all back to me instantly. Spice, so nice, so bracing with caraway seeds and jasmine – that’s what I get at first. I also get a certain greens that is earthy, yet fresh. This has always been a hard fragrance for me to wrap my head around, and its that enchanting mysterious quality that always drew me back to it. It’s 3/4 the same, and a 1/4 that slips into a soapy lab concoction that was not there in the original. It could be the part of my memory that is fuzzy, but this has most of its ducks in a row, as dialed down as it has become. This fragrance seems like one that could (should?) slip into the annals of time as the memories prove better than the second time around. Still, if you can get past the soapy lather you just may enjoy the enduring combination of carnation and sweet cyclamen (which appeared in our previous selections well). To me, for its trio of citrus, I don’t get that, other than its punchiness. This ends up feeling like a well broken in old leather lounge chair with a nearby bubble bath (likely all atop a hideous 70s shag rug). I’m not completely convinced, yet I still remain a bit titilated. A conundrum, not quite a quorum. (75%)

Notes: Artemisia, Caraway, Lemon, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Pine Tree, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Carnation, Jasmine, Cyclamen, Oakmoss, Tobacco, Leather, Amber

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