Femme? or Homme?

Do you think I’m turning into a man? I wonder. Given the direction my nose is headed these days, maybe I should check and see if I’m transgendering in my sleep. You’d think I’d notice — or the Big Cheese would point it out…

In our boring Barneys Co-Op I stumbled across the Barney’s Route du The — the one for men, with the chocolate-brown label. Way better than the women’s, which smells very sharp and cat-peeish to me. The men’s is tea and patchouli, and I’m probably going to wander back over and buy one, it smells very fall-ish to me. Interestingly, I can’t find it on their website.

At Neiman Marcus, the SA and I were whooping it up in the men’s frags section. We were in firm agreement that Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme is Sex in a Bottle. (I will leave the rest of our conversation out, for her protection.) Our other new love is:

Prada Amber Pour Homme. Have you smelled this? My, oh, my. The bottle lists patch, cardamom, amber, and some other manly stuff, but they don’t list the foofy feminine note at the top, which to me is orris. My only quibble with this juice is the word “Homme.” Puh-leeze. There is nothing remotely Homme about it; it makes Rocabar look butch. You see what I’m saying here. This is not a criticism of the fragrance, which I think should be sprayed on everyone around me on the subway — they should pump it out into the air. That’s how delicious it is. I am simply pointing this out as an example of why homme designations are absurd. FWIW I am not the Queen of Amber, either, and it’s not gagging me in this one.

I wanted to love the Sisley Soir de Lune, which could be soooooo Pour Homme, and for the first 20 minutes I do, when it’s being a prickly, difficult chypre of the dry green sort that makes chypre-haters squinch up into that funny Bill-the-Cat face. But then it gets a little too rose-jasmine-ish on me and I lose interest. You chypre fans should check it out, though. At least it’s not another wretched fruity-floral.

I haven’t managed to fall in love with a single Creed (talk about a needle in a haystack!) but I may have found it — Silver Mountain Water — hamptonct.com says: “Master Perfumer Olivier Creed’s personal favorite scent, Silver Mountain Water was inspired by wild, fresh water and the natural splendor, strength and light of the French Alps. A refreshing infusion of green tea and black currants, Silver Mountain Water is as bracing as a pure mountain waterfall in springtime.” I’m not sure about all of that, but it does smell wonderful. Unisexy.

The Divines got sampled at least twice. I think L´Infante would be a prime example of the aspects of anosmia Christopher Brosius so aptly demonstrated for Patty and me in his shop by holding various things under our noses. Huge swaths of folks can´t smell individual compounds, which is why, for instance, there are so many kinds of musk in a musk fragrance. Brosius´ personal theory is that so many people can´t smell a particular popular musk compound (which I could remember the name) he can´t stand, which is why they overspray until they reek of it – they can´t smell it otherwise. Anyway, back to L´Infante – okay, you readers were raving, and there is something there, but to me it was like spraying myself with water, more or less. “Light” doesn´t really capture it. L´ame Soeur I was sure I´d love because of the ambergris, but it was all powder on me. L´Homme de Coeur I loved at the opening, but it was gone way too fast. L´Homme Sage, however… We Have A Winner!!!! Notes are saffron, mandarin, cardamom, lychee, aromatic woods, immortelle, patchouli, oak moss, amber, incense. A rich, powerful, slightly green woods/incense that caught my attention every time I caught a whiff from the back of my hand. Did Patty love it on me? No, she doesn´t. But that´s okay, because I loved it on me, I´m going to have to buy some.

SNM Nostalgia
– smell this one. As P described it in Takashimaya, it´s like Tubereuse Criminelle without the tuberose. It´s sort of like sitting in your leather-interior car with the windows rolled down, inside the auto repair shop. Okay, I probably won´t be buying a bottle, but the drydown gets more conventional, and I think after the first 10 minutes of madness it would smell great on The Big Cheese.

Today’s giveaway is: S-ex in a Bottle! Samples of S-Perfume’s stunning 100% Love, 100% Love {MORE}, S-ex, and Sloth. I’ll also throw in a squidge of the CB Musk Reinvention absolute which is brand new and features one of the most pronounced naughty notes I’ve smelled in recent memory. If you’re feeling shame when you smell it, you can bury it very nicely under a jasmine; layered with anything leather, it is deliciously dirty. Note — it is an oil, apply sparingly. As in, one drop. You Were Warned. I’d try not to spill the vial in your car. Anyway, if you want to be entered in the giveaway, say so in the comments below.

  • March says:

    Lisa S — sorry for the slow response. Something about this time of year makes for difficult fragrance selection — the summer ones aren’t enough, but the weather isn’t quite forgiving enough for full-on fall. Everything seems … wrong. >:p I need something NEW, don’t I?!?

  • Lisa S says:

    If you think you’re turning into a man, baby – welcome to the club. Must be something in the stars but these days. Because I am all about wearing utterly dessicated fragrances with no food or fruit or white-flower or amber or vanilla or anything but wood and smoke and dry spice and maybe a touch of hesperides or violet or iris. And maybe an acidic green thing now and again. But all my plush lush girl stuff is just sitting on the shelf.

    Could just be summer or my personal headspace (much improved with a new position at my company) but I am finding my nose doing serious evolutions as my journey through the perfume world continues. Tried my Theorema sample the other day and while a few months back I was ready to eat my arm it was so yummy smelling; now it just seemed overblown. However have recently had wonderful days with Passage d’Enfer and Philosykos and Genie de Bois. I firmly believe that taste in fragrance evolves the more fragrances one smells. It is a stimulating sensory activity and the brain makes new connections, becomes more discriminating of its likes and dislikes and olifactory needs, and perceptions shift. An interesting occurrance but not good on the wallet if one is incautious.

    And congrats on you new domain!

    Would like to enter your drawing too.

  • BBliss says:

    Thank you for not judging! 🙂 Yes, I must have been having an identity crisis when I bought that Jasmal – just happy to be rid of it since just looking at it made me aggravated with myself! No one would take it, so it went to the dog who really needed it (stinky little thing).

    Thanks for the honest opinions on the MR oil – will have to test – but it sounds wonderful, and even more wearable. I just love the drydown of that stuff!

  • VeronicaV says:

    I hope Leopoldo remembers that “something similar”.

    Regarding Divine by Divine, it reminds me of the feeling of Jil Sander 4, without the oriental. It’s classy and clean. I guess “round” comes to mind. Complete. It doesn’t fall apart in the drydown.

    I wish I had a bottle of Norell to try beside it. When I was a teenager, I picked it out for my mother, so yes, it’s been a good….25 yrs or so since I’ve smelled it. Divine makes me think of Norell, but a better version.

  • March says:

    Oscar — weeellll…. okay, I poked around over there on the threads and followed over to POL as well. Mostly I read the reviews (there are only 3 for Prada PH so far) and don’t spend too much time in the community reads.

    It seemed to me that the main complaints were first based on the smell in the scent strip, which I don’t think is a fair way to judge a frag. Then the balance of the criticism sounded to me like the collective pain and suffering of 90-odd guys who expected it to smell like, you know, something for a MAN. Comments were along the lines of “it’s fruity” smells like my grandma, floral, where’s the beef, etc. Yeah, for noses that are attuned to smelling masculines, and expecting another, it would be like sniffing My Little Pony. Evaluated as a “chick” frag, I think it’s a different story. However, I DO think it would smell delicious on a man — smelled good on my man, anyway. I re-smelled the original women’s Prada yesterday to confirm: they should switch out the bottles, THAT’S the Prada PH.

  • March says:

    Well, the Sage is pretty strong — Patty was not loving it, that’s for sure. I can see the roughness, but it has just enough polish for me to put up with it.

  • March says:

    Mimi — ack — I reviewed Divine a week or two ago, as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the top 5 new-to-me discoveries this year — yes, it is just stunning. I left it off because I’d already Declared it Magnificent.

    You’re in for the Sex!

  • March says:

    Steve and foufou — you’re in!

  • March says:

    VV — heh heh! I’ve got one or two of those kids…

    Okay, the rest of you — you are all sick and strange — I advertise something as Buttcrack and the lines are out the door:))

  • Oscar says:

    Hehe..I suggest you take a trip to Basenotes. Nearly 9 out of 10 thought it was unoriginal, and better suited on a feminine. Some even said they hated it.

  • houseofstone says:

    nice reviews. hi from berlin. please enter me in the drawing if it isn’t too late!

  • Leopoldo says:

    Oh, go on, include me. I can’t skip by when there’s buttcrack to sniff.

    You got me snorting my sample of l’Homme Sage. I have a FB of l’Homme de Coeur which I love but it is one that my skin soaks up like cocoa butter on a prune. There’s something in Sage that is slightly off-putting to me: I love that spicy fruity opening, but underneath there’s a dry raspy something that makes me think I want to cough. A few weeks’ back, I tried it side by side with something similar (and can’t remember what unfortunately) and the something similar won out hands down. I will rack my brain as I continue my decorating.

  • No mention of Divine by Divine? As far as I’m concerned it’s a winner.

    I’d like to play too, please count me in.

  • foufou says:

    Sign me up please!

  • Steve H says:

    Please enter me as well into the giveaway.

  • VeronicaV says:

    Yup, and he’s 13. I’ve had him sniffing produce since he could sit up in a cart. Did all the earthy crunchy essential oil stuff with him too. He’s been wearing fragrance since he was bitty.

    I figure that if I get him to appreciating good stuff, he’ll have to get a job that will support his high-end ways and he’ll move out of the house.

  • March says:

    VV — OMG, thank you, I could KISS you!!! A boy going off to college with a handle on first-class fragrance, as opposed to all the other lads showing up with Axe and the Izod. I love all your fragrance choices!

  • VeronicaV says:

    Yes, it is smoky/sweet ashy. I don’t want to put off anyone who doesn’t like overly sweet. This is not. I agree, a tiny dab will do ya, and the lasting power is great. If I had to categorize it, I would say human, and I gotta say it again: It’s unlike any musk I’ve ever smelled. It’s unique.

    I’ll have to check back with you in a few hours. I’ve been trying on many things lately and I forget what my impressions were after I’d worn it for say, 4 hrs or so. For sure, this would be a great way to add a layer of skank to any perfume you might have. It’s not too loud or spiky, so it wouldn’t compete. It would add depth IMHO. You’d only need a little bit so it would be an economical way of doin the butt, oh that sexay, sexay….

    Or sorry. For some reason, that song just popped in my head. :”>

    BTW, I sampled the Divine Homey Sage stuff, and it’s good. Put some of that Diorissima Narziss(sp) (no, I can’t be troubled to look it up) on, and liked that one too. I may share one or the other with my son. You guys are hurtin my wallet. My boy and I are currently sharing Black, Eau des Merveilles, and even the AG Le Chevrolet. We don’t get much sweet honeysuckle out of it, it’s kinda like Des Lys, without the wonky-after-3 minutes thing. And the boy likes that Artisan Fig too! Yes, I will no longer be able to afford college for the kid, but he will smell gooooooood.

  • March says:

    VV — there is something smoky about it … CB is very fond of smoky smells, it probably has burning leaf or smokehouse or something in there. And the sweetness and the buttcrack… it sounds to me like you’re smelling the whole thing, do you feel like you’re missing something? To me, it is a very, very strong smell — I put on the tiniest dab and that’s plenty. But there is something about it as it warms on my skin’s surface that I find absolutely intoxicating. It is a primal smell to me… sensual, almost, rather than sexual. I wish I could remember exactly what CB said about it when he showed it to me — he was trying for a “human” accord rather than a fragrance, is my best recollection.

  • March says:

    Minette — well, if you smelled it on a card and had that reaction, I definitely wouldn’t try it on, it’s pretty tenacious! It’s not for everyone, I admit.

  • March says:

    Tigs — you, Robin and I share that aversion to the overly sweet, which is in hyperabundance among the new fruity-floral releases. I don’t care for the traditional uber-male colognes, but apart from those there is a lot to love, isn’t there? Let me know what you think of Sage.

  • March says:

    Rachael — well, VeronicaV thinks it’s nASSty. Comment 37.

  • March says:

    Dusan, yeah — where’s my care package?!?:-w Stick some Habit Rouge in there. I’ve put Brit Dude on my list, lemme know if there are any other girly-man frags you can think of.

  • March says:

    Stella — I need to re-try the Coeur, it was so nice at the opening — I really WANT it to work. That Sage was enormous, though.

  • March says:

    Justine — definitely go to the men’s side of Sephora! Smell… l’Instant PH, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel Allure Homme, Boss (?), Armani Code… they had a helpful sheet up the last time I was there listing them by dominant note.

  • VeronicaV says:

    Hi March, please count me in the drawing. I have a sample of the CB Musk, and just like you say, it’s unlike any musk I’ve ever smelled. Yes, it is nasty. I’m not sure if I like it. It’s …..strange. The layering bit sounds very interesting. Do you smell ashes in the musk? On me, I don’t think of it so much as being warm, like musk normally smells to me. It’s lightly sweet, has that weird I can’t-name-it ash thing, and the buttcrack factor. I wonder if I’m missing something? To my knowledge, the NR musk has been the only musk I could barely smell. So aggravating!

  • minette says:

    hi… wanted to love the new sisley myself, but didn’t even want to spray it on my skin… perhaps on another day i’ll feel differently about it. haven’t tried the pradaH yet, but loved the test strip in vanity fair.

    would love to try CB musk – and the other sexy scents, so please enter me in your drawing. thanks!

  • Tigs says:

    Great post; good to know there’s somebody else in my boat. (A friend once told me: “For a very womanly girl, you’re the most androgynous I know.” What this means, if anything, I’m not sure, but it seems as if it might apply to you too.) I have to agree with Robin – it’s that the juices for men are often less sweet. The notes tend to be dryer and more to my taste and are seldom accompanied by a cloud of fruit. And thank you (and Robin and Marlen) for confirming that Divine L’Homme Sage is something I need to own. My sample is in the mail and I’m getting psychosomatic rashes waiting for it. (Please count me in for the draw too!)

  • Rachael says:

    CB Musk sounds hilarious, I’d love to try it.

  • Dusan says:

    Another gender-bender for your consideration — Burberry Brit Dude, it’s not exactly Tom Selleck in “Magnum P.I.”, but it definitely isn’t Tom Selleck in “In & Out” either.
    I haven’t seen Vozhd around for ages so I guess it has been discontinued :(( If it happens to pop up somewhere, I’ll send it to you, along with the skanky vanilla that is The Red Jacket, which I got for my birthday recently.

  • Stella Maris says:

    Now I’m hunting for a sample or decant of L’Homme Sage to try. Oh, and me me me for the drawing please!

  • Justine says:

    Gawd know I’d love some good sex, perfume that is, so count me in. I’ll try the prada for him since I don’t care for the one for her…In fact I should just go spend a day on the other side of Sephora and give lots of those men scents a sniff or two…

  • March says:

    Sariah — PS, I live about 10 minutes from Saks, so call me if you want company. They also have the Armani Prive Amethyste.

  • March says:

    Sariah — March is my name. marchlion is my blogger ID/moniker (March was already taken, and March3 or whatever is just pathetic). They tend to pop up randomly when I leave comments, and I tend not to notice which one is up there.

  • Alica says:

    :(( I would like to be included in the drawing pls :)>-

  • March says:

    BBliss — that is some VERY EXPENSIVE dog spray! But I am not judging you, because over here Chez Marchlion we have some VERY EXPENSIVE bathroom spray!;))

    The Malle MR — I didn’t even know there was an EDP until recently (duh) I think the oil is just amazing. FWIW the Gang of Five in NY we all smelled it together and the oil was hands-down the favorite. Patty’s sister couldn’t stop saying “oh my God oh my God…” and bought a bottle on the spot. It smells different — more subtle and sensuous? but also strong — makes no sense, try it first since you like the EDP.

  • March says:

    Vi — I actually typed “if I’m growing a pair in my sleep” in the first draft and then decided to upgrade the tastefulness … because we are all about the tastefulness over here on the Posse.:^o

    The Prada Homme is MUCH softer and more feminine, to me, than the original women’s Prada, so give it a whirl. I think it’s beautiful. I’ll try the Tweed, thanks!

  • March says:

    Robin — elf pee! Well, I have to give it a big ol’ spritz and see when I’m not wearing 6 other things. Maybe I’ll be eating my words!

  • March says:

    Patch — another Yatagan fan! I had noooo idea, it’s like finding out your knitting group is all into bondage.b-)

  • March says:

    Jill — I disliked the reg. Prada so much I never smelled the Intense:-” I do thing the Homme is lovely.

  • March says:

    Sybil — I have hated every Creed I’ve tried, I think. Full Disclosure — I tried the Silver Mtn Water on a strip, not on me (out of skin.) So maybe it’ll be another reject. The D&G is, I think, pretty mainstream — it’s their original one, I think there are newer. It shouldn’t be too hard to find, and you can always get it online.

  • March says:

    Judith — that musk! Heh heh. Wearing it yesterday. Le Buttcraque Magnifique. Charming? Or repulsive?:-? A little bit of both, I guess. The lasting power is phenomenal, and I’m not complaining. I keep waiting for the Cheese to say something…

  • March says:

    Priscilla — yeah, I HATED the Prada for women, I think it’s just awful. So I was very surprised by this one. I actually think the women’s is muskier and more “masculine.”

  • March says:

    Dusan — Duke has arrived!!! Still making me giggle. Hey, at least they’re not all wearing that new, stupid Lauren that smells like aftershave and Sprite. I think you would love the Prada. Habit Rouge — that was in the middle of our bender in NYC, I loved it but it was buried in the wealth. I haven’t seen it here, I need to order a decant.

  • sariah says:

    Hey thanks for the directions! So what’s the deal with the double identity March/lion? Spill the beans

  • March says:

    Elle — I agree totally. “Masculines” are mostly my winter comfort scents, many of which play nicely with my winter incenses… Big Cheese is pretty much not interested in frags, although I try them on him (D&G smells AMAZING on him.) I mean, he considers them all ridiculous, so he doesn’t really care whether I dab him with Allure Homme or something girly. Definitely try the Prada and the Sisley. Yes, Yatagan is “genderless” but it is also some of the humpiest jus I have ever smelled…:”>

  • BBliss says:

    Water??? – Really??? It’s too bad about the rest of the Divines, but there is also so much more out there…

    Creeds are just not for me, and in a ridiculous fit of trying to love them I bought Jasmal a couple of years ago – it just reeked on me and became a doggie spray for my sister’s dog.:o Expensive lesson for buying without *true love.*

    Please include me as I am v. interested in the S-Perfumes and esp. that CB Musk. I am actually not a fan of musk (so I thought), but FM’s Musc Ravageur totally won me over. I’m trying to decide between the oil (haven’t tried) and the EDP – which I love. Have you compared or have suggestions? Thank you!

  • March says:

    Sariah — dude:d — 270 south, exit the beltway, Wisconsin Avenue/355 south (toward DC) Actually I believe the 355 exit is AT that pt where 270 meets the Beltway — I believe the road splits and you take the left lane (labeled 355). Probably 10 minutes on Wisconsin Avenue toward D.C. On your left: Saks Fifth Ave, giant parking lot, can’t miss it. Immediately past Saks on your left: the Mall of Bling: Barneys, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, RL, Tiffany. Parking behind. Across street: Gap and Banana Republic. One block south: J Crew, Talbots, AT Loft, and Neiman Marcus. Leave your car at Saks or Barneys and walk, the underground parking is a nightmare-ish maze.

  • March says:

    Has everyone figured out that March and marchlion are both me?:d Good.

    Chaya — I have never smelled that Patou, I bet it is sublime (though I guess that name is already taken.) I think “cat pee” is just one of those universal notes I get when I dislike something, just as some people are always complaining about “play-doh.” FWIW I had something on me when I was with Patty that had that dreaded BO note I hate, and I had her smell it, and it smelled fine. So it’s my perception, rather than reality, but my perception IS my reality, if you follow the twisted logic, ya know? Noir Epices — pissy?:o Nooooooooo. It is many things, some of them manifestly evil (ask Patty!) but never pissy on me. I find it rather Guerlain-ish, as manufactured by a sadist.

  • marchlion says:

    First — everyone who asked to be in the drawing — you’re in!

    Oscar, see, that’s the great thing about me — I’m so ignorant I can’t follow the trends. WHO is bashing the new Prada Homme? And why? Really, the only complaint I could fathom is it’s too feminine… so pay no attention to Their nattering. They are foolish. Tell Them to go splash on some Hummer and THEN let’s talk about bad smells…;)

  • violetnoir says:

    Oh, you naughty girl, March, gender bending on the wild side! How shocking! 😮

    I tend to be a girly-girl, shying away from those “manly” fragrances. Afterall, a pushy broad like me needs to be “soft” somewhere, right? But, I did smell the Prada Homme on a smell strip in one of those fashion mags, and it intrigued me…much more so than the original Prada, which I do not like at all.

    Oh, and please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!


    P.S.-BTW, have you ever smelled Creed’s Green Irish Tweed? My husband wears that from time to time, and it smells wonderful!

  • Robin says:

    I often like the men’s stuff better too, simply because it isn’t as sweet. I liked both of the Divines for men, the women’s were fine too but none of them captivated me. On the subject of Silver Mountain Water, however, we shall have to agree to disagee. Someone on MUA called it “Elf pee” once. Just sayin.

  • patchamour says:

    Must try the Amber pour Homme. Agree with Elle that Yatagan is genderless, and I love anything suggestive of leather. Btw, somebody mentioned Anais Anais yesterday, and what I really love about that one is the leather in the drydown.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.

  • jill says:

    I was hopeful about Amber pour Homme, since I love Prada Intense so much, so I will make a trip to smell the real thing.
    Please enter me for the S-Perfume too, thank you!

  • sybil says:

    Please enter me in the drawing, because I could always use more S-ex, not to mention Love. I haven’t had luck w/ the few Creeds I’ve tried…seems to be this stanko ammonia note in them that lasts too long for my personal comfort. Oh well, maybe I’ll give Silver Water a try (pretty name, at least.) I’ll have to see if they carry that D&G in what passes for department stores around here.

  • Judith says:

    I love the male Divines and am currently (I hope) on my way toward getting some Nostalgia. I’d like to be in the drawing, but mostly for the squoosh of Musk. I think I should have bought this when I was in NY, so I’d like to test it again to make sure.

  • Priscilla says:

    I don’t like the Prada for women, but the Prada Amber “pour Homme” sounds yummy! I think maybe a trip to the mall on my lunch break…
    Count me in the drawing please. 🙂

  • Dusan says:

    Ha! D&G is somethin’ else, isn’t it? The only problem with it is that every other male seems to be wearing it around here.
    Prada has been topping my lemming list for ages and now I’m sure I wouldn’t regret a blind buy. A bit Femme? Pfft… Vozhd days are waaay behind me :-j
    What’s the final verdict on Habit Rouge, Marchie? Patty said you quite enjoyed it. Have you changed your mind?
    I never say no to sex so please enter me in the drawing.

  • Elle says:

    I hate gender labeling of scents. Occasionally, I’ll concede and admit that a man’s scent really is purely masculine – this usually involves a fougere – but I refuse to ever turn over my beloved leather, tobacco or woodsy scents to men (blessedly, DH doesn’t wear scents). Yatagan is genderless as far as I’m concerned. I think masculine scents are appealing because they often tend to focus more on traditional base notes, which are nicely grounding and comforting. SMN’s Nostalgia is one of my top HGs. I’ve *got* to try that Prada and the new Sisley (I’m a confirmed chypre fan).

  • sariah says:

    There’s a Barney’s Co-op here? Have I been living under a rock? Must check it out, even if boring it’s got to be better than Hechts.

    Please sign me up for the S-ex, the CB Musk one sounds like a must sniff. 🙂

  • chayaruchama says:


    Please add me, too !

    A propos of Soir de Lune {which will become a classic, and is well made, but I’m not buying],I feel that I would rather put my money into Mille de Patou- many similarities,but it’s a touch rounder, woodier.

    BTW, dearest- do you and cat-pee have some clandestine relationship we need to know about?!

    Actually, I thought about you yesterday, when I tried [again] Noir Epices- brave soul that I am..
    It begins nicely, then turns pissy [yes, PISSY- is there cat anal gland effluvia crawling around in there?!], then, hours later, pretends to make nice-nice.
    I resisted the urge to scrub, in spite of hateful glares from passers-by…

    Love you!

  • Oscar says:

    Nice to see you liked Prada Men – it has been bashed nearly everywhere else. Then there aare hope..
    I really agree with what you said about the male Divine’s. However I think all of the fem’s smell too powdery..

    I would also love to join the giveaway 😉