Sunday, September 22, 2013

Re-View: Eros, My Soft Spot for Sweets, and My Gameplan

So, it's been pointed out to me that I don't get into the specifics of note profiles in my reviews. There are two reasons. One, I am kinda too lazy to meditate over a diagram of a dozen scents and how each might fit or not into a fragrance. Let's face it, only one or a handful of notes get to be the star, the half a dozen plus additions are backup singers at best. Two, I like to keep it real. The average guy has no. fucking. clue. what any of the minute names of features in perfumes and stuff are. If the average guy smells, let's say the subject of my review today, Versace Eros, he isn't going to say "Interesting combo of vanilla and mint top notes descending into cedar, and the dry-down has a nice mix of woods and vetiver." He is going to go. "??? Goood? No. Bad. Ehhh. Grunt"

It's far more fun for me to write from experience without using too much cataloging for reference to bridge the complete novice to the enthusiast. That doesn't mean I don't like it though! If you're interested in more thorough note profiles I strongly suggest searching fragrances on They have an awesome and well-designed interface to show what individual fragrances are made of, what people think they are like, etc. You might have to join to view entries (a big downside, I'm tired of sites making you join to research what is pretty banal knowledge), but if you're interested it's worth the time. And hey, I can't complain too much. It's free damnit.

On with the main show.

Sweet scents get a bad rap. If there ever was a fragrance trend which could be called the bad boys of the industry it's sweet smelling. Chocolate, coffees, vanillas, caramels, so on and so on. Sometimes along with other food-based scents called gourmands, and sometimes just desserts, there's a perception that anything smelling sweet in men's fragrances (sometimes women's too) is tantamount to being corny or dumb. It's hard to explain why, but considering the traditional palette of fragrance notes has been dominated by rather inedible notes for generations it's not hard to understand. It's also easy for sweet smells to "smell cheap", so they can be dangerous in concoctions.

I LOVE sweet scents, myself. I love wearing them. There, I said it. Deal.

Versace Eros

This little beauty, the newest in the Versace pantheon of men's fragrance (I think, if i'm wrong comment and correct me please), came out in all markets fairly recently. It's one of those fragrances that instantly divided the masses. You either love it (guilty here) or hate it. It is SWEET. Mint and vanilla are both incredibly obvious in Versace Eros, and the rest of the scents (tonka bean) base it. Although it's not been described as having it, I get the sense of an incense middle note that adds some a smooth complement to the singing sweet vanilla. I have to admit, it is a damn decadent smell to wear and could go wrong. What elevates it from feeling too sticky for me is the mint. The cleanliness of it helps keep the rest from becoming a muddled mass of cavity inducing goo.

What's amazing, I think, is that this fragrance came from Versace in the first place. (Audience gasp). Now hold up. Hold UP.  I'm not saying anything bad about the house, the fragrance, or anything, it is just SURPRISING that such a clean-sweet scent would come out of Donatella's empire. Consider the following evidence:

1.  Versace and many other Italian design houses, if not most of Europe altogether, stay away from clean or sweet like the plauge. The cleanest I've smelled is Burberry, and even then they use enough herbs and woods to make you think you fell face first in Narnia if you smelled them all at once..Tradition meets modernity in the the European palettes of fragrances, and the inelegance of prominent edibles is usually absent. A*Men by Thierry Mugler, a universal classic, challenges this, but that's for another day.

2. The name is Eros, a Greek god (Donatella wisely went Greek instead of Italian "Cupid", preventing the silly connotations), and the Greek-godlike ad campaign, a heavenly display of man meat if I've ever seen, emphasizes masculinity to such a degree you'd THINK Eros would be spicy or deep, at the very least incense and aquatic.

3. Donatella herself playing up the masculinity. I found this gem of a Donatella Versace quote on Fragrantica: "This fragrance is for a man who is his own master. He is a hero, a man who defends his ideas and goals."  Of course every designer and perfumer promotes any men's fragrance has having masculine attributes, but using the words hero, ideas, and goals doesn't quite translate into sweet fragrances.

All in all, getting over the surprise, I love Eros. The mint is key in making this a wearable joy, because otherwise it might smell like stayle syrup. Eros will make you hungry, but it's worth it. Definitely not for use for being active, but it's a great anytime fragrance. If you're in mixed professional company with some people who might not like perfume and cologne, this is a good one to go for, as edible scents are pleasing to just about everybody. I give this full marks, 7 out of 7 sprays.

Donatella Versace, have you got anything else to say about Eros yourself?

Heh. Aight.

That's not really her, it's of course the superb Maya Rudolph as Donatella Versace. Speaking of which, Lifetime made a movie called House of Versace starring Gina Gershon as the big D. I cannot fucking wait for this awesome movie. I'm gonna be front and center when it comes out in a couple weeks.

Peace out.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reading is Hard: Episode 1: The Emperor of Scent


I've been reading lately, more than usual. And I think I have something that's worthy to discuss here.

As far as I can tell, there isn't too much out there when it comes to literature concerning fragrance. There are some great coffee table worthy titles that are pretty detailed reviews written in elaborate ye olde encyclopedia fashion, and maybe even a few fun craft and hobby style books about oils, but not too much about the industry through the eyes of the people invested in it. While the fluff books are nice and I am admittedly a sucker for reviews (if they're funny and snarky), a person can't learn much from a bible of reviews. Luckily there are some gems out there and I'm confident with the proliferation of 21st century fragrance there will be many more explorations to come, and not just in books but in all manner of newfangled media as well.

The Emperor of Scent
by Chandler Burr
A 2002 title caught me eye when it was prominently displayed in a small book store: The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr. This awesome tome colourfully illustrates the life of Luca Turin, somewhat of a mad fragrance genius who is both olfactory fashionista and biophysiologist.

What is so great about this book is that it takes the reader, likely somebody interested in fragrance/fashion etc., and forces them to reconcile scent aesthetics with science. The myriad of tidbits about the chemical properties, secrets, sequences, and the labs and technicians who toil endlessly perfecting molecules gives a fragrance enthusiast such as myself a cold and clinical view at the man behind the curtain.

Turin is portrayed as a man on a mission. We're informed that at a young age he was very interested in smells and being from the heart of Europe he grew to know the old, if not ancient, shops and perfumers that dotted the heart of southern France very well. His freakish skill for memorizing the hundreds of perfumers and design houses and ability to identify perfumes just by similar subtleties in differen fragrance stunned shopkeepers, perfumers, and everyone else. He also displays a skill to distinguish when fragrances were created based on knowing when the notes being smelled were likely at play in the market or in labs of the time.

Realizing that his goal was to relate his seemingly divine gift into a comprehensive study of perfume in order to codify knowledge of fragrance, he sets out into the scientific community and becomes thrust into a much larger arena; in the already brewing debate over exactly how our sense of smell functions (something that is still contested today.) Despite his initial inabilities to comprehend scientific method, Turin proves he is a fast learner and becomes embraced by many who believe in his cause. Turin also explains that in the rapidly growing availability of synthetic fragrance molecules, traditional perfumers and their supplies have become too expensive to produce and many of the "true" perfumes created before synthetics were becoming a dying art form. This creates an innate desire to help preserve classic fragrances, and adds to the urgency of his cause.

While the book itself introduces fragrance to readers in a fantastic way by marrying the scientific with the artistic, it is not written in a steady way and will be more challening to digest for people who do not have a basic to intermediate knowledge of the perfume business. Considering communiques and events referenced in the book took place roughly in 1999 and the book was first released in 2002, there was obviously not a very long period of time between book conception, to research, to drafting, to editing, and to the final product on shelves, and the writing shows this unfortunately. The jumping between the name-dropping while expounding on fragrance's tradition and luxurious status and the fleeting and confusing chemical process descriptons and diagrams was interesting aesthetically, but does tend to muddle the bounty of information provided.

All in all, regardless of reservations over writing style, this is a fantastic and possibly revolutionary book with its unheard of point of view looking into fragrance and perfume. Burr has done us all a huge favor, and for you guys who consider yourselves to be more technical and analytical and all Top Gear and stuff, the science behind perfume (and the sense of smell as a whole) will blow your mind and give you a new-found appreciation for how our aesthetics and seemingly arbitrary sense of art forms. I'm mos def not the technical type, and even I was getting into the elementals.

The Emperor of Scent is worth a buy, paper copy or e-book or otherwise. And I have yet to have said that about ANY book about fragrance or perfume.

Just get it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Re-View: Marc Jacobs for Men and Tomorrow

Staying up too late isn't healthy. Oh I don't mind the physiological effects, it's the mental that annoy me. Considering how infinitely melancholic the last review was I am determined to issue a more upbeat, if not just even-toned, follow-up review.

Keeping within the scope of fashion, I define my experience as fashion before, during, and after McQueen. That's simply out of my own personal taste, and it's not a scale for everybody (clearly). Post-McQueen has been odd for me. Fashion, much like any art or skill or trade or tradition, however you define it, is now blown open to hundreds of new faces and new markets because of our world's rapidly expanding consciousness. More people know about fashion, more people have access to it, and more people are getting involved in it. Because of this there is a glut of designers and trends and styles that is so overwhelming what once used to be a joy, shopping, can now easily become an intimidating if not fearful venture. It's the grand irony that our expanding global identity has been the result of civilization, and yet how post-consumerism brings our or animlastic hunting urges is clearly a sign of our humble caveman roots.

During this vacuum buffet of fashion and design, I've been very interested in American design houses and their fragrances. For generations American culture has been intangible considering how different one person is to the next, but I've been noticing how there are glimmers of the beginning of what could be called a uniform American style, even if just loosely at best. Our national obsession with cleanliness is mostly to blame. Everything has to be fresh. Wear white in winter (I do!). Nothing too heavy. Pass on musk. etc. etc. This type of under-design was somewhat laughable in its early days as being seen as anti-fashion, and can you blame people in the 80s who loved layering on everything (hair, makeup, clothes, attitudes, so on and so on)? The way American powerhouses have evolved around their subtleties has given way to a Trojan horse of world-changing fashion contributions that everybody enjoys and is enriched by. Donna Karan. Ralph Lauren. Vera Wang. Calvin Klein. all designers and brands that have celebrated clean and/or sporty simplicity. They celebrate the lines more often than the shapes. And their fragrances are no exception.

One designer I have thoroughly been enjoying lately is Marc Jacobs, the irreverant personality of American fashion that effortlessly blends high fashion, street fashion, and casual fashion into one, heart-achingly elegant style. And I only got into his style by being introduced to his fragrances.

Marc Jacobs for Men

Marc Jacobs for Men is now easily in my pantheon of ultimate fragrance favourites. When I heae the word "cologne" mentioned by somebody, this is what I think of. This fragrance could easily qualify as gender neutral, even though it is within the pinnacle of men's fragrances in my own tastes. There is an overall sense of "perfume" that brings a slightly feminine character, but the soft woods are constant and keep the overture from having too many flourishes to detract from the masculinity. Perfumy and woody, yes, but as I have illustrated earlier, Marc Jacobs for Men sails strongly as a clean-loving American fragrance. Suitable for day wear and incredibly elegant at the same time, I cannot get enough of this one.

I don't know much about dating women, but I'm willing to bet this is a great first date scent. But hey, don't take my word for it. Get out there, roll up your sleeves, and get into it yourself.

Re-View: Kenzo & Autumn Perspec

Of course i'd like to think I'm not a stark raving fashionphile because some part of me is convinced I'm this super-mega-rennaissance type and my main source of insecurity is being labelled by anything I do, but I am obsessed with many aspects of fashion (fragrance is the biggest one, obviously)

What most people day to day don't understand about fashion, specifically about the design house and couture worlds, is that these clothes should be thought of as wearable canvases. There's always a color piece written up in some newspaper or newscast about how audacious and crazy some of the designs are, but really they are just paintings meant to expand our conceptual horizons and are not meant to demand consumers wear them en masse. I could explore that idea more, but I'll spare the time. The thing enjoy about fashion almost as much as fragrance (a close second) is the art of the fashion show. The scenery, the sound, the whole context which comes from the designer's universe to put this moving art gallery inside, all lasting for a mere 10 to 20 minutes, and each one never being able to be witnessed in person again. The supermodel era brought on the plain, white runway, which is what everybody thinks of when they think about fashion shows, but in the past decade designers of every calibre have certainly been as highly inventive with set design as major tech firms have been with our ever-evolving persoanl devices. To get a taste of what I am trying to convey I strongly suggest to anybody who is unfamiliar with fashion to watch videos of Alexander McQueen's shows from the 90's up until 2010 when he unfortunately left this earth.

Speaking of Alexander McQueen, I took news of his death in February of 2010 very hard. Not that I knew very much about him, but I knew his work, and his set design, and his universe was a deep inspiration for me and continues to be to this day. The more I learn about him after his life only multiples the deep respect and affinity I have for him ans his work. What does this have to do with fragrance, you might ask. Well, the scent of one fragrance in particular gives me vivid McQueen imagery, so much so it's how I describe it.

Kenzo Pour Homme 
by Kenzo. 1991

To describe this fragrance I use two words:

Plato's Atlantis

That is the name of Alexander McQueen's final fashion show, which was his Spring/Summer 2010 line shown at Paris Fashion Week in 2009. It's the only way I can comprehend Kenzo Pour Homme logically in my own mind. To me, it is a marine fragance. Although rich in wood notes, the ozone and overall outer layer scream seaside scents to me. But it's not marine in your average summer-season aquatic fragrance, it is deep, dark, and dare I say gothic. There is a salty sourness that bites when I use this fragrance, and the deep woods underneath add a brown layer that only further masks the dark marine mystique. The moody sea scents strongly echo the melancholy and understated elegance of Plato's Atlantis, and the touch of modernity makes me recall the moving camera arms and their cold but stunning ballet as they tracked the models and audience alike. I have yet to smell anything similar to Kenzo Pour Homme and that is something I am both disturbed and delighted by.

I do have to say that Kenzo Pour Homme is not something I routinely use and most days I feel it is a highly inappropriate, but the elaborate art the fragrance creates for me is something that I will treasure forever.

The fragrance is not for every man, but it's position bridging the thick, pitch black ("night") scents with the noble marine and wood notes is easily suited to anybody identifying themselves as being harbingers of the little known masculine mystique.

Use it wisely, guys.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Take: A Hankering for a Flankering

It's so fucking hot. Honestly. Yes, up here in the north the mid-60's counts as hot (That's roughly 18 to 20 for you Celsius lovers). Even I know it's not THAT hot per se, I've been in a 100 degree bake-your-goddamned-brains-out situation a few times, but the fact it's hit that in the first part of June just weeks after the final dying dusts of snow is killing me, and the mysterious lack of June wind is making me cook even more. I'm horrified thinking about what will happen in July and August. Like it or not, summer is here, and summer is intense. Bring on the seasonal flankers!

Seasonal flankers interest me because for some reason, some perfumier decided "We should have a variance of this fragrance for summer, because, well, things smell differently in the heat and spring blooms bring a different general aroma to the atmosphere". Sound logic on paper, but is it really that necessary? Think about it, our experience of smell is tied to... exactly that, experience. 

Before I go on, for those without the vocab, a flanker is a follow-up perfume or cologne that is inspired by one before it, usually with a tag on its name. I.e. an original would be Euphoria, and a flanker would be Euphoria Intense. Seasonal flankers are most commonly summer flankers, editions that are allegedly more appropriate for the warmer months.

Back to the show:

We know what something smells like in our minds because we've smelled it at some time before and have created a chronological reference for that time. How conscious are we of categorizing the smell of particular items based on the time of year we smelled them? Other than natural phenomena (the trees and flowers of places you've been in spring and summer) and cultural phenomena (gingerbread at Christmas time), I see no logic behind it. I've smelled macaroni and cheese, Kraft Dinner for my Canadian peeps, and know what it smells like well, but I can't say as I'm able to logically categorize it into a time of year. Given this puzzlement and oodles of similar smells that I'm unable to categorize seasonally because they aren't a seasonal occurence in my life, I find the rapidly growing need for seasonal flankers to be downright fascinating. 

Marketing ploy to increase variety and sales? Probably a bit of that. An artistic variation of composition, creating a whole new medium of perfume grouping and pairing within the medium of perfumery as a whole, creating fragrances worthy to stand on their own? Maybe. All in all, unless something is a total standout, a seasonal flanker is silly to me and I tend to view it with a negative impression initially. That being said, I don't not enjoy a seasonal flanker (DOUBLE NEGATIVE POLICE ALERTED!). Consider this: If a summer version of a fragrance is good and able to stand on its own, why not give it it's own name in the first place? I'll tell you why not. Branding. Ka-Ching. That about sums it up. And fragrance houses can get away with it. We are lucky to live in a time, those of us in the first world anyways, where almost everything is at our fingertips in any time of year. For example, before post-industiral civilizations people could ONLY ever eat what was in season. Nowadays most people need to refer to recipe pins on Pinterest to determine what kind of melon is in season because they see melons at their market or bodega any day. This is our collective mentality and the re-seasoning (can't think of a better word) of fragrance is 99% branding novelty and probably only 1% legit perfumery, in my own not-so-humble opinion anyways.

That thesis being stated, I can handle it for now, fragrance houses, but please do not multiply flankers. I don't EVER want to see a chain of fragrances like.... "DAFFODIL SPRINGS" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS SUMMER" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS NIGHT" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS SUMMER NIGHT" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS SPORT" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS SPORT SUMMER" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS SUMMER SPORT NIGHT" "DAFFODIL SPRINGS SUMMER SPORT NIGHT SPECIAL RESERVE" and any possible combination I haven't had the time to mention. That would kinda piss me off.

Earlier I mentioned Euphoria Intense, a beautiful Calvin Klein men's fragrance that I enjoy. It's thick and fruity and considering the heat I think it pairs well with me now. I definitely need to review it this summer.

Stay hydrated, get tan, wear some SPF if you're tan enough, smell good, and peace out!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Main: Consumer's Choice - MEN

Yes, the time is here to cover the main event as far as I'm concerned, the Consumer's Choice award nominees for men's fragrances. And yes, as you can tell by my style of posts, I am a fan of fame and fortune, and I obsess over awards. While many choose to say that awards aren't a good marker of quality I have to content that without them we would not have the opportunity to use a critical mind in our experiences. If everything deserves an equal position in the grand scheme of things, then why bother innovate or create new things? Awards allow us to view an entirety within a small window or viewpoint. It's like a big, collective TED talk. Of course nobody has to agree with awards, how they're awarded, who or what should have won, etc., but the point is we should value the chance to use a greater POV of looking at the inside from out that awards bring.

Speech over! Down to business.

This year, the Fragrance Foundation offered up four nominees for Consumer's Choice in men's fragrances. Yes, they decided to nominate 6 in the women's category but only 4 in the men's (proving the Consumer's Choice awards are heavily a marketing ploy, but oh well), and yes this lineup is quite a bit different than the finalists in contention for the main prizes that foundation voters select. Are the Consumer's Choice nominations consolation for not being in contention for the big prizes, or sponsored social media advertising pandering? Or as I call it, "Adverpandering". We'll never really know, but I digress. Regardless of the legitimacy of the bandwagon I am still getting on it, as my love of fragrance outweighs my sense of economic morality.

Let's jump in. In my handy dandy sample packet that was sent out to first so many people who registered to vote, I found something amiss. Despite there being samples for all 6 women's nominated fragrances there were only 3 of the men's. One of the fragrances was mising outright. I thought perhaps an attached sample had gotten loose, but on its page there wasn't even a trace of any type of publication adhesive whether it be tape, glue, or some other industrial emulsion. Considering each other sample looked fairly unique and sourced from distributors to the foundation, I could only assume the distributor just did not submit samples. After much personal deliberation I decided that rather than approximate my judgement of the missing fragrance I am awarding it a big fat 0. A goose egg because they did not provide a sample. This was tough to do because the nominated fragrance in question is A*MEN Pure Leather, a flanker to the famous A*MEN by Thierry Mugler, which is one of my top 5 fragrances of all time (If I had to make such a list). But after I overcame that internal anxiety laden moment, I was at least thankful that my work had been cut down for me.

The three remaining nominated fragrances are:

  • Legend by Montblanc
  • Vince Camuto for Men
  • Acqua di Gio Essenza by Armani

Because there are only three, I'll spare the lengthy countdown. This is also because, honestly, my decision on which one to choose was painfully easy. Now don't get me wrong, the one that I picked is definitely a deserving scent, but there is a part of me that enjoys the subjective deliberation, the pros and cons list, the mental struggle, and so on of picking a winner. (Or picking which one I'm going to vote for, at least).

So, without too much fanfair, my selection is:

Legend by Montblanc

The first thing that hits you with Legend is "Wow. Another sweet fragrance", but like so many good fragrances for the ages Legend might have an assaulting first split second, but the full body after shows it is a true star. It falls in a category I've created in my own mind called "Dark Cream", the type of deeper, woody scent that comes off as dessert inspired but doesn't quite trek into sugar territory. Lately this style has seemed to be en vogue and I don't believe it will pass any time in the near future. Give it to 2020, but hey, who's predicting?

Anyways, that is my pick and vote for the category this year. Vince Camuto for men and Acqua di Gio Essenza definitely have their time and place, but neither gave me a sense of inspiration nor a distinct character of innovation.

The awards will be revealed soon, and I will provide an ample wrap up of the men's selections!

Comin' Up Soon: My next review, and it's a new purchase!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Featurette's Syndrome: Ladies Night! Women's Consumer Choice

Featurette: Consumer Choice Nominee Smelling Session Part 1, For the lovely, lovely ladies.

Summer officially hit the far north. Finally. It has been a long winter, which is how the winters used to be before all of this warming nonsense. But anyways. It was damn nice to see a hot day, but it did look bizarre considering how there are still some spots of snow here and there. Regardless, I don't trust the outdoors when nature lapses into multiple personality disorder, so I'm holed up with my collection and contemplating how this big busy barnyard of bottles is going to work in in the scheme to give me total world domination. One day at a time I guess.

My collection grew by 8 to 10 bottles and a handful of samples in the past couple of months. I'm still digesting them mentally, using the ones I like frequently, and getting to know them and how they fit into the collection in the long run. (I'm reminded of Linda Belcher singing to her Little Babies collection on Bob's Burgers. Best show ever by the way, check it out.) Because I'm currently in a post-mass-purchase euphoria, I can't comprehend much in the way of a review or thesis. However, not to fear, I received my sampler of the nominees for the FiFi... err.... Fragrance Foundation Awards Consumer Choice categories yesterday.

I've said before I'd swear off women's fragrances from my content because they are the infinite, dominant force in the fragrance world and frankly don't need to be bandied about anymore, but seeing as I've been granted the full sample selection and a vote I feel it would be a missed opportunity without adding my two cents. And, although anybody could have registered, I still feel special and glamourous voting, like somebody voting for the Oscars. Anyways, let's push on.

The nominees and samples for the women's category consisted of:
  • Fame by Lady GaGa
  • Dot by Marc Jacobs
  • Girlfriend by Justin Bieber
  • Premiere by Gucci
  • La Vie Est Belle by Lancome
  • and Coco Noir by Chanel
I sampled each one blind (with assistance), then I smelled each one again knowing which was which, because to me bottling is a pertinent X factor. (I did make one switch in the ranks because of it, but it didn't matter as there is only one possible vote.)

Anyways, let's start with the bottom of the ranks and work up. Last and least was Girlfriend. I mean, it smells hideous as is. I can definitely see a watered down version being worn by juniors and high school girls (perhaps a Bonne-Belle like experience), but it has the strong potency of an adult fragrance that doesn't match. It's a bit like the stale fruit juice left open from a kegger the night before which didn't quite make it to being mixed with the hard liquor. Seeing what name and bottle went with it just made it even worse.

Second to last was Coco Noir. Chanel's bold attempt at a classic French era women's evening fragrance seemed a bit too strong and ashen for my tastes, but I could definitely see where they were going with it. The deeper notes are definitely en vogue for 2013. Although it is a great fragrance it did not quite have the gravitas to be fragrance of the year.

4th place overall was Dot by Marc Jacobs. I LOVE Marc Jacobs the designer and the brand, especially the men's fragrances, and I even love this fragrance, Dot. However, much like my opinion about Coco Noir, the notes are too ordinarily classic. While Dot is more fresh and has an up to date floral/botanical style to give it a bit more of a fun kick it doesn't scream fragrance of the year.

3rd was La Vie Est Belle. Sweet, charming, and sophisticated, but not too sophisticated to detract from the soft perfume allure. It definitely has the gourmand feel but has just enough fluff and duff to make it float away from being a heavy dessert disaster. Again, great on its own merits, but it did not have an X factor.

That left just two, and I couldn't decide which was better for the longest time. On one hand, Fame had a warm, sweet, and even leathery modern aura, but on the other hand Premiere NAILED a 21st century take on a cosmopolitan musk-like experience. I sampled both a few rounds, rolled the feeling around in my head, made notes, recited poetry, and in the end, I had to give it to...

by Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa. Wow. Picking a huge celebutante's fragrance surprised the hell out of me. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but this scent stuck with me in a good way. Although both Fame and Premiere I absolutely adored, the feeling behind Fame felt to be the more modern and evolutionary of the two; definitely fragrance of the year worthy. And the innovative opaque black liquid in a clear bottle didn't hurt either. I recommend trying any of my top 4, and, straight fellas, they would make a great gifts for chicks.

Next up I'll have a more serious look at the men's category of Consumer Choice and its four nominees. Well, three, considering my package didn't contain one of the samples! And I gave it an automatic 0! Stick around and find out which one didn't show up for the party, and what my vote went to.

Peace Out