Manly Trio

I’m going to try to write about perfume, but I’m fuming at the moment. The kitchen looks like it’s been set up for a toddler group’s first experience of paddling – puddles everywhere. There’s a leak under the sink I can’t seem to fix cuz the u-bend join keeps fu messing up and no amount of rescrewing, cleaning, crying (that was meant to say drying, but it’s an appropriate typo), sealing, seems to fix the fu devil. All because, since this morning, I’ve been installing a new dishwasher – our aged old chugger gave up the ghost a year ago and I’m sick of cooking and then also bloody well washing up. I thought I’d set it all up myself to save a little money. What a f**kwit I am. I guess I’ll need to call a plumber out soon if the u-bend doesn’t sort itself. Still, I’ve got lovely clean dishes after my first run through, even if there are drills, bits of wood, screws and all manner of other home improvement artefacts scattered over the granite work surfaces, like some post-ironic art installation. And that’s not to mention the content of two cupboards and all the extra bits of piping I’ve had to buy and cut to cope with our totally bizarre drainage set up in this 200 year old house. Rant over.

There’s been a lot of ladytalk on this site recently, what with March’s recent obsession with nail varnish and her Wednesday article on lipstick. Gordon Bennet (mild, archaic British expletive), I’m happy for the little ladies to have their interests, but puhleeze, all the bleeding details started doing my head in. So instead, I thought I’d bring us back to proper manly talk, for guys who are tough enough and maybe like it rough: car engines golf lifting weights wrestling football home improvement perfume. There, that’s better. I feel the stubble growing as I type the words. Three fragrances this time. In mini-review style, given the drips that continue to call to me. First up, Ormonde Jayne’s latest release, Zizan.

I’ll triangulate for you and end with a description. Take the woody dry smokiness of Gucci pour Homme, add in the contrasting feel of the top notes to drydown of Rochas Lui (where green and yellow citrus notes replace orange ones) and sprinkle on a dash of masculine austerity from le Labo’s Vetiver46. That le Labo number starts of trying to convince you you’re trapped inside a monks’ apothecary, circa 1500, before changing its mind and softening up, with tonkaish vanillic touches. The Ormonde Jayne goes the other way – starting out bright and playful before becoming grey with incense and dry woods. It’s tough, it’s manly, it’s very different to the softer Iso e Super-driven features of both Isfarkand and the superior Ormonde Man, but it will no doubt please lovers of retro-infused scents of a permanently hairy, chest-thumping, strutting-as-though-you’re-hung-like-a-donkey butchier-than-thou scents. And a bonus for lovers of binomial classification: the name comes from the Latin for vetiver. Or so I read on basenotes. (It has nothing to do with French genitalia). Is it all about the vetiver root though, as the name would imply? Only in the same sense that Vetiver 46 is, though it does have greener aspects than that church-to-cuddle number. I will say though, even thoug Linda Pilkington herself calls it a powerhouse, the ingredients are refined, high quality, and a pleasure to sniff, even if the scent isn’t something you’d wear.

  • Next, the re-released LP No. 9 from Penhaligon’s. Once again, the info:
  • Minty black and warm, LP No. 9 casts a spell of powdered darkness from its complex heart of ylang-ylang, spices and iris. The aromatic mingle of clove, vanilla & earthy patchouli add a sweetened ginger-ale touch to heady layers that open and smooth into a moreish bubblegum-scented delight.

  • So there you go. I got no bubble gum, though that might be a reference to the clove note. For me, it was five parts Rocabar, four parts Un Bois Sepia and one part dentist’s mouthwash. I liked it enough, though my testing was fleeting. The sample is somewhere in my car.
  • As is the last of the trio, another Penhaligon release. Elixir is designed by Olivia Giacobetti as an update of their classic Hammam Bouquet. However, it’s more in a reference to the idea of a hammam, I think, than that venerable fragrance itself.
  • Here’s the story:  Head notes: Eucalyptus Steam, Cardamom, Orange blossom absolute and White cedar; Heart notes: Red Turkish Rose absolute, Egyptian Jasmine absolute, Cinnamon leaves, Mace and Rosewood; Base notes:  Benzoin “tears”, Tonka beans, Vanilla, Incense, Red Sandalwood and Guaicum wood.  Opening with eucalyptus and the harmonising hot spices of cardamom, cinnamon and mace, the senses are massaged with the dark magic of Turkish rose and jasmine, sharpened with a twist of orange. Heat and smoke rise and the incense and woods mingle with the earthy rub of resins and spices. A touch of vanilla and the soft persistent roundness of hypnotic Tonka bean complete the atmospheric dry-down.

  • Interested? I was. But, perhaps more than any of those ingredients would indicate, this is primarily an incense scent. Now, I’ve never been very goth, drawn as I am to the frivolous and funky. Therefore, a combo of incense and rose, resting on a background of whispered spices, ain’t my thing. And the first time I tried this, that’s what I got. However, on two subsequent occasions I received quite a different impression, based perhaps on whatever that eucalyptus steam is supposed to be. It smelled like a high quality sauna, a place of luxury and relaxation (though, to be honest, saunas ain’t my thing either) and, though evanescent, I was happy to sample some more. I won’t be buying it, but it’s good to see Giacobetti continue to explore oriental sheerness in her recent work. Is it just me, or does that bottle look like some tat from a set of bad stage props?
  •  There. I’m done. Back to the plumbing, unfortunately. To make someone smile, leave a message if you’d like to receive my samples of these. I’ll throw in the women’s LP for good measure too. I hope to respond to you at some point during the day, though the kitchen disaster may well continue, and I’ve got much loved guests arriving from Calfornia. I have pumpkin pie to bake! With ginger and cardamom cream!

  • p.s. A tip. Never try writing in wordpress using Google Chrome. You’ll regret it.Unless you enjoy failing to reformat your text.   Aaargh!
  • Douglas says:

    I got a sample of Zizan from Linda at Ormonde Jayne a couple of weeks back. She promised it wasn’t the absolute finished article but I really love it. It reminded me of Eau Savage by Dior and for the first 15 minutes or so there were three different types of Vetivr. It’S sophisticated more than anything.

  • Tania says:

    I signed up for a sample of Zizan (I got an email from OJ), but it sounds like it will be waaaay too masculine for me, and I don’t know any alpha males to give it to. Ah well. Back to Ormonde Man! I love that one.

    Don’t talk to me about strange plumbing… :d When I moved in to my 70’s flat, I found that when the washing-machine emptied, the water came up into the bath! So I plugged the bath – the water came up the bath overflow instead. Which was how I found out that the overflow leaked.
    In the course of fixing this, I discovered that the bath s-bend ‘hung too low’ when it was installed, so the crafty builders had dug a hole into the concrete floor under the bath to fit it in! In a first-floor flat. So when the overflow leaked, it wasn’t much, but the water went straight down the hole and invaded my downstairs neighbour’s bathroom ceiling. So I had to pay to fix that, too. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up…
    Anyway, all semi-fixed now. But I’d never risk a dishwasher, even if I had room for one! Things just barely hang together as it is.

  • Goldberry83 says:

    Oooh, I would love to try any of these! LP No. 9 sounds really good to me – I absolutely adore incense scents. 🙂

  • Sue says:

    Eep, sorry to hear about your sink rebelling, though I am amused at your reaction to the girliness on PP of late, given that March favors nail varnish colors exotic enough for either sex. (March, I blame you for my current gray nail polish lemming.)

    Please enter me in the draw – I’d love to try the frags you spoke about, even if they are men’s.

    How is the puppy? Did you ever get to try the CdG White?

    Have a good day!

  • Stephen says:

    Lurker drawn out of lukerdom here by yet another beautifully written post; Lee please include me in the draw.

  • Mariekel says:

    PS. count me in for the raffle, please.

  • Mariekel says:

    Lord Lumme, me old mucker! Gordon Bennett indeed!

    If there is even a hint of vetiver in this new OJ, I must sample it with all speed. I adore that cloistral Le Labo version…oh, and best of luck with the plumbing, Lee! As always, your posts make me smile.

  • Ben A says:

    Please enter me in the drawing: both Zizan and Elixer are on my to-try list!

  • Tara says:

    Ah, the joys of having a Man Who Can Fix Things around the house… worth his weight in niche perfume. That Elixir sounds better than I thought it would… sample is in the mail as we speak, so now I’m really looking forward to smelling it.

    Can you fax me some of that pie though?

  • Robin says:

    Hmmmm… cannot tell if I’m going to love Zizan or not. Sounds like I’ll like Elixir better than I thought though!

  • Amarie says:

    Having just survived a rather long process of D.I.Y. building and major reconstuction, including plumbing new pipes onto old pipes, Significant Other and I breathed a huge sigh of relief the other day as we watched the last bit of concrete dry. Then it rained. Hmmmmm. There is now a very ominous looking lake at my back door at the other end of the old pipe which sits under more vast amounts of concrete. :((
    What’s a few drips of water among friends? Enjoy their stay and the cooking and please take my mind off the forecast of more heavy showers by entering me in the draw.:d/

  • helenviolette says:

    :(( Sounds like you need to surrender to the plumber butt…

    This has reminded me that I still need to try OJ Man- I think the latin vetiver and bubble gum both sound like something I can do w/o, but if I were to magically win a sniff in a sample drawing, I would be quite pleased…

    Now, b/c I luuvvvv Olivia (and the notes you mentioned sound nice), I think the Elixir might be super dreamy.

    Have fun with your company, my dear. @};-

  • tarleisio says:

    Oh, the agonies of not being able to use one’s kitchen as properly intended! Lee, you poor man, especially since I strongly suspect you’re also a rather fiendish cook! As for me, I do love to cook, have not one single DIY bone in my body except for painting, since that’s what the 6’6″ Resident Redhead is for, and the very idea of plumbers makes me break out in hives. Not the plumbers themselves, you understand, it’s what they do!

    But vetiver…Oh, vetiver! My most favorite note on a man. On the right kind of guy, vetiver has been known to make me do exquisitely inappropriate things. 8-|

    So – vetiver – and Ormonde Jayne. What’s not to love?

    Please – enter me into that drawing. I have a not unwilling testosterone-fuelled giant lab rat to test it on.

    You see, it comes with fringe benefits! 😉

    • Lee says:

      You’re in the drawing – and you’ll definitely get vetiver – the smoky tarry end of that changeable note.

      I hope your lab rat gets a chance to be a test subject!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Another guy here relating less and less to the posse’s posts recently; so, glad to see one for the boys today. BTW, calling the plumber really cuts down on the drama at my house and nowadays they display less butt cleavage than most twenty year olds in the neighborhood.
    Please enter me in your drawing!

    • Lee says:

      I like a bit of butt cleavage, if only the butts who display them were more appropriate.

      Are you, like me, wondering how lower yoofful lads jeans can go? You see all variety of boxers these days….:-?

  • Morgan says:

    What splendid rugged, burly, testerone-overflowing reviews, and I wish you good luck on the plumbing. Fitting, in a way, that it should have a place in this post; after all, isn’t home improvement a quintessential male enterprise?

    The Elixir sounds delish, but what a mistake of a bottle, indeed.

    I’ve been watching episodes of Jeeves and Wooster these past few days, and I have a nagging feeling their pompous use of language has rubbed off on me. Still, could be worse. 🙂

  • eileen says:

    Great to see some reviews from you, Lee. That plus the fact that you are reviewing some of my new lemmings gives me some incentive to stop lurking around here and actually post.

    Spicy, woodsy, incense-y things have caught my attention this fall. They seem calm and focussed, in contrast to my crazy life these last few months. Both Elixer and Zizan piqued my interest, but I’m trying to rein in my spending until after Christmas — must think of others and buy them a few prezzies. Just my smelling good may not be enough for them. 😉 So, please enter me in the draw!

    Good luck on the plumbing operation! SO and I admit we’re all thumbs on these things and just call a pro to start with — you’re a brave soul!


  • Esri Rose says:

    I’ve heard ‘Gordon Bennett’ (first time on Red Dwarf, I think), but never knew what it referenced until today. Looked it up on Wikipedia (Gordon Bennett, expression). Mercy!

    Good luck with your plumbing. (ahem) Your kitchen’s plumbing, that is.

    • Lee says:

      Thanks Esri. And wiki’s a wonder for info, isn’t it? And I think I recall he had a moustache of enormous proportions…

  • Kathryn says:

    Hi, Lee. Perhaps you have plumbers of a higher order in the UK, but in my recent experience calling a plumber to fix things in a 200 year old house does not necessarily result in less mess and bother. My not-so-old Bosch is once again up and running, but I am wondering for how long since all the pieces the plumber removed were not put back into the machine. That rubber ring now sitting on my counter must have been intended to do something, perhaps having to do with the new sounds my previously silent dishwasher is making. Oh, well. The plumber did contribute an interesting new curse (seems to come with plumbing territory): “You son of a mother-loving goat!” was something he uttered in a sort of choked voice several times in the throes of his repairs. Since said plumber smelled rather like a goat, it is nice to fantasize about spraying the kitschen with one of the perfumes you describe upon his inevitable return. I hope that your plumbing endeavors take a turn for the better, or at least that whatever plumber you call in smells better than mine.

    • Kathryn says:

      My typo is telling me something: “kitschen” for “kitchen”. Hmmm. Time to cast a critical eye on my interior decor, as well as my typing. I didn’t think it was kitsch, but maybe….

    • Lee says:

      Oh my. suspicious rubber rings. Maybe it was a spare he left by mistake (I have a toolbox of kit – near enough – that builders, carpenters, plumbers, electrician etc have left here over the years). Love his expletive.

      And I’m sure your kitchen is in complete good taste. I thought it was perhaps a Germanic/Yiddish quality coming out in your typing from eating sauerkraut, kreplach and gefilte fish balls…

  • Elle says:

    Hmm. That Zizan has gone from potential unsniffed order (I find sales combined w/ a decent exchange rate hard to resist) to something I definitely need to sample first.
    I wasn’t aware that Elixir was supposed to be an update on Hammam. Interesting. Sadly, can’t remember what Hammam smells like, but I am moderately enjoying Elixir. However, I agree w/ you on the bottle – awful. I also agree w/ Hannah in thinking it looks vaguely penile and as I look at it again, I’m now thinking it reminds me a bit of a baby’s bottle as well.
    Hope your plumbing woes are resolved by this time! And have a great time w/ your friends! Ginger and cardamom cream…yum! Am having sudden serious cravings for some.

    • Lee says:

      I wouldn’t order unsniffed Elle – though I think you’l love it more than me.

      Like you, I find the Elixir moderately enjoyable.

  • March the Impressed says:

    Thanks for offsetting the recent estrogenic overload on this blog with a rock-hard, tumescent, well-endowed … post. The Zizan sounds delish, I love those retro-he-man scents. I hope things settled down with your dishwasher. 😡

    • Lee says:

      All settled love. And you can write about anything you like, whenever you like. Love your words, is all!:x

  • sybil says:

    you go on that dishwasher! Just think of how accomplished you’ll feel when you’ve gotten it together! I can’t live w/out mine, I’d probably rather wash clothes on a flat rock than do without the new Bosch. And the Elixir bottle! sheesh. It totally misses. I would love to be in the drawing. My actual husband doesn’t do dishwashers, or perfume, but my handyman does. I’ll have him try them out. Is Gracie-baby being a big helper? (I know my dog always is!)

    • Lee says:

      You know how dogs love to help, right?!!

      You’re in the draw, and lucky you on the handyman front!

  • Lauren says:

    Good luck with the plumbing, Lee. And how about posting the recipe for that ginger and cardamon cream?

    • Lee says:

      The recipe is simple. Whipped cream (the better the quality, the better the finished product, but I’m a fusspot for few ingredients of high quality), preserved stem ginger finely diced with a little of the syrup, and crushed cardamom seeds. I play it by ear – love my ginger, though too much cardamom makes things perfumey in all the wrong ways. A flat teaspoon will be sufficient for 2 cups of cream I guess, though sometimes the richness of the cream can mask flavours and make you think you want to add more, only to let you know aftetr swallowing that, yep, you added too much that time. Fold together and you’re done. The pumpkin pie is similarly easy – I make a mean sweet shortcrust and the winter squash I grew this year are perfect – dense, sweet, spicy.

  • Olfacta says:

    Thank you thank you! We’re about to get a new dishwasher as the old one gives up; DH stands looking at the (tiny) pipe cabinet while scratching head; “hmmm,” he says, “doesn’t look all that difficult…”

    No No No! “Over my dead body,” I say, in rememberance of the DIY garbage disposal installation debacle of last year.

    We have finally found — Thank you God — an all-around handyman. So we’ll see how he does. (Sounds like you did it right, though.)

    Eucalyptus steam? Could be reminiscent of the health club. (Would love to see what they’ve done with it though — please enter me in the drawing!)

    That Elixer bottle is a scuh-reem!

    • Lee says:

      You’re in Olfacta. Thankfully for me, most things work out okay. The dishwasher and pipes are all operating perfectly now. But don’t let DH know that!

      You’re in.

  • Melissa says:

    TGITF? (Thank God it’s Testoterone Friday?). Love the post. Imagining the sound and scent of my husband laying on the kitchen floor, cursing and wrestling with pipes as he fixes a leak, installs a new garbage disposer, finds some excuse to take something apart etc. Tiny gashes on his head from forgetting that his 6’2″ body doesn’t fold under a 2′ tall cabinet and standing up too quickly…..

    Oh and I would love to be entered in a sample drawing. My husband (or I) would love to be doused in any one of those fragrances on I Hate Home Improvement Saturdays.

    • Lee says:

      Melissa – your husband and I share bruises and a 1 inch difference in height. I have a couple of nicks on my hand too, but I’m used to that from garden work, so no biggie.

      You’re in.

  • MattS says:

    Whoooo-hoooo….Testosterone Friday!!!! Pass me a spritz or two of that Zizan while I crack open a beer and adjust myself. <):)

  • Hannah says:

    “Is it just me, or does that bottle look like some tat from a set of bad stage props?”

    Is it just me or does that bottle look, erm, penile? I mean, talk about chest-thumping manliness…

    • Lee says:

      I hadn’t noticed til you said, you filthy thing!:d

      “Hey sugar, wanna undo the bow I’ve placed around my boy, and get down to looooooving?”

      • Hannah says:

        A Christmas gift from the cockiest man in the world to his lover? Oooh, my puns are horrible when I’m tired, but no less filthy.:d

        P.S. I mean this in an entirely unpunny way: I do hope you get your plumbing fixed with minimal $ and trouble.

  • Louise says:

    Harumph! All this time I’ve believed your pipes were working just fine /:)! But really, Lee, so sorry about the hassle.

    So good to get a Man on Board here. While I’ve enjoyed all the girly things, it might have gotten a little pink ’round here. And the epidemic of scratching a few days ago may well have been related to all the Red Dye # 548. So, dewds, come on out, you’ve been missed >:d< It's safe now... These three perfumes all sound like you-had-to-be-there scents. Zizan seems it would be great on a man I don't know, and wouldn't really like to spend time with, but is kinda hot. I do have a thing for the retro chest-thumpers. Of the Penhaligons, elixir sounds quite nice, but for me. Incense, rose, spice, you say? Mmmm :>

    Enjoy your visitors!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your plumbing problems. A few weeks ago we had a toilet problem that required calling a plumber, and $700 and a new toilet later, it’s fixed. 🙁 I love manly scents, Isfarkand and OJ Man are actually some of my favorites from teh OJ line (though I just bought Tolu yesterday – another lovely scent). And anything bby Olivia Giacobetti will be a hit with me. I have never met a scent of hers that I didn’t adore. I’d love to be in the drawing!:)

    • Lee says:

      You’re in Elizabeth. I dread the thought of toilet problems. and, given the exhange rate, yours got 25% more expensive to me in the past few weeks.

  • joe805 says:

    Ahhhh… nice to see a good dose of manliness here. I was about to paint my nails Jungle Red just so I could join in the fun on some of the threads. Now where were we…? About to get down to the manly business of chatting about perfume, right? That’s what I thought.

    I’ve never tried a single OJ or Penhaglions. The Zizan copy had me thinking it might smell like a cousin of Terre d’Hermes, but from your description, I’m assuming not. And “not something you’d wear,” eh? Pity. And I think I’ll pass on the bubblegum-mouthwash of LP No. 9.

    Incense and rose on a base of whispered woods (with a touch of **jasmine**)… now we’re talking! What could be more m-a-n-l-y than that? Nothing, that’s what! I need a sample! Except eucalyptus reminds me of either cough lozenges or Vicks chest plaster. Can’t we do something about that bottle? Was the package designer out on leave or something? Oof.

    • Lee says:

      Joe – none of those medicinal eucalyptus qualities in the elixir – only a real steam bath quality (initially I thought hot iron…). The bottle looks slightly better irl.

  • scentzible girl says:

    Hey lee, thanks for this. Even some of us girrlz aren’t quite so into nails and lips as the glamorous March! But I’d truly love samples, and cream with that pie thanks.

  • Musette says:


    My heart aches for you – El O coming right over – he’ll have that fixed in 32 seconds!!! That’s why I haven’t beaten him senseless all these years, permanently hairy, chest-thumping manly man that he is – which of these do you think would work for him (remember, it’s gotta go with the scent of hot metal shavings)!;)


    • Lee says:

      I fixed it not long after I posted this up. Now, if only that dishwasher would fit perfectly into its intended slot. It *almost* does, but almost doesn’t butter any bread. As for El O – the manliest is Zizan without a doubt, but what does the dude like normally?

      • Musette says:

        Lee –

        El Oso really is exactly as his name implies – a HUGE bear of a man, who was a bare-knuckle fighter back in his youth (click on our site/about us to see him). You are going to faint laughing – but he has ‘sensitive skin'(he does) and says ‘perfume makes him itch’ (it doesn’t – he just likes to be difficult). He never wears any scent unless I put it on him and is usually a good sport about it when he’s not playing the ‘itch’ card /:) Citrus and lean fragrances don’t smell right on him . Chypres fit him a bit, I think. Neil Morris’s Gotham smells good on him but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

        May we be in the raffle, just in case?