Balenciaga’s Balenciaga Pour Homme (1990)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Man Beast

Inconceivably, the legendary gods Kouros and Yatagan had a secret child named Balenciaga Pour Homme. Born in 1990, this child has a cult following and his worshippers like to mark their exaggerating praises on the walls of Temple Fragrantica.

I sprayed it on my coworker wrist, and off he went to the office kitchen sink to scrub it off. My other coworker, said, “WTF, no, this is horrible!” and hid under his desk and started crying. (This part I made it up.)

Ok, this scent is strong!!! Cedar, Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Lavender, all the manly stuff in almost undiluted form. I admit I am not man enough to wear this.

Amouage’s Epic (2009)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Got this bottle from eBay at a relatively good price. I totally dig the packaging.

The creative director of Amouage, as many have already known, is Christopher Chong, a man from Hong Kong. He’s good at his job, but I often wonder, how did he land on that job. I mean, he must have some very good social connections and given a perfect opportunity.

The good and bad thing about Amouage perfumes is that for each scent, they have a man’s version and a woman’s version (well, the smart guy created the Opus line, which is for unisex, I suppose.) I didn’t spend much time checking out the woman’s version; I probably have missed some really good Amouage perfumes for women. Any recommendation?

L’artisan Parfumeur’s Timbuktu (2004)

L'Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu, 100ml, EDT
© Victor Wong

A year ago I bought a bunch of L’artisan Parfumeur samples from I paid special attention to Timbuktu, for Luca Turin praised it like it’s heaven-scent (pun intended). But you know how tiny those samples are and how soft L’artisan scents are? I thought Timbuktu was simply ok.

Today the full bottle has arrived, and I am showering myself with many sprays, I hope I can fully appreciate this scent.

Here are some excerpts from Luca’s review on Timbuktu:

[Timbuktu is probably the first true masterpiece of what, by analogy with nouvelle cuisine, I would call nouvelle parfumerie.]

[…almost infrared shimmer of woody freshness.]

[Timbuktu is the only modern fragrance that replicates, albeit by a completely different route, the bracing, euphoric freshness first bottled in 1888 by Paul Parquet as the defunct but immortal Fougere Royale.]

Guerlain’s Coriolan (1998)

Guerlain Coriolan, 100ml, EDT
© Victor Wong

A Hero’s Second Chance

Released in 1998 by Guerlain, Cariolan (the name of a legendary Roman general), was a “flop”. I didn’t care about perfumes back then, therefore I didn’t hear the sound of him landing face down on the ground.

He got revived, changed nationality from Roman to French, got a new name “L’Âme d’Un Héros”, and given a new modern suit that looks like a wooden box with two sides missing. Now it costs $275 instead of $80, standing side to side with Lupin and Derby.

The important thing to me about this perfume, is its oakmoss basenote. I need to know if oakmoss had already been banned in 1998. If it didn’t, then I am smelling real oakmoss? That’s pretty awesome (I believe I am smelling real oak moss here).

Bulgari’s Black (1998)

Bvlgari Black 75ml
© Victor Wong

I suggest people getting a bottle of Bvlgari Black for their perfume collection before they vanish completely in the market. It is a very unusual perfume.

I bring a different bottle to work almost every week for “show and tell” and the coworker sitting in front of me, who has a very specific taste, (or I should say, a very limited palette for perfume. His fav is Lacoste’s Generic EDT) takes a sniff, and shakes his head and says, “Not for me.”

One day I brought in Bvlgari Black and he instantly liked it. (To my surprise.) His father owned a metal workshop, and when he was a kid, he frequented that place and remembered the smell of oil for machine parts lubrication fondly. And not to mention that he is a cycling nuts, who loves the smell of rubber tires.

He asked me if he could borrow it and bring it home and ASK FOR HIS GIRLFRIEND’S APPROVAL. I asked, “Does your girlfriend ask you for approval when she gets a new perfume?” Well, we all know the answer. (Anyway, her favourite is Flowerbomb, which my coworker doesn’t like.)

Long story short, they both love it, and he is heading to the discounted perfume shop that I go to all the time to get a bottle. I told him to ask for a tester bottle because that could save him 10 bucks as he totally doesn’t care about packaging. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a totally different planet.

Guerlain’s Vol du Nuit (1933)

Guerlain Vol De Nuit, 93ml, EDT
© Victor Wong

Taking a small break from smelling all the “modern” perfumes. Vol de Nuit is always mysterious and nostalgic to me.

By the way, if you want to know which year your bottle was manufactured, you should visit this wonderful Guerlain fan site for reference.

Comme De Garcons’ Incense Ouarzazate (2002)

Comme des Garcons Series 3 - Incense (1)

White Pepper Woody

Comme De Garcons’ Ouarzazate (an Islamic city in Morocco) is a spicy and warm incense perfume. The pepper is so strong that I don’t even detect the green tea and vanilla notes as listed in Fragrantica.

But to me, the most interesting aspect of this perfume is that it smells like Le Labo’s Rose 31. In fact, it should be the other way round. Le Labo kept everything in Ouarzazate except incense and wood and added rose and oud, and gave it a much easier to pronounce name and hit it out of the park.