Outliers first, favorites last. It might sound bad if I say something smells like soap but none of these are bad, except the first one.

E d C aka smells like
YSLK ysl kouros body necco wafers and candy hearts, definitely not my thing1
PDBL polo double black mandarin oranges, mango, pepper, wood
GVET guerlain vetiver grass, ginger, pepper
GVPI givenchy pi vanilla sugar, like not quite creme brulee
YSLH ysl l’homme honeysuckle, butter, like a rounder sweeter CKL1
CKL1 ck one honeysuckle, lemon, sweet mint, like YSLH but more lavender, rose, like summer t-shirts & the 90s
PBLU polo blue really clean laundry, a soapy wind, like a less-intense CHIM without the hairspray
LC12 lacoste l.12.12 lemon, sugar, grass, hot soap, all the good parts of YSLK but no bad
LDIM l’eau du issey miyake lemon, honeysuckle, hairspray like CHIM, mostly between YSLH and ADGO
ADGO acqua di gio lemon, honeysuckle, between CKL1 and CHIM
CHIM creed himalaya like ADGO but with a peppery grassy note that doesn’t compete

There’s also an axis of how “forward” they seem, some scents are just more aggressive than others.

intensity E d C
everyday, anywhere GVPI, YSLH, CKL1, LC12, LDIM, PBLU
louder PDBL, GVET, ADGO, CHIM

I really like these five: YSLH, LDIM, CKL1, LC12, CHIM. They’re pretty similar to me, but all stand out as their own. They stand out from each other, to be sure. I like how each has its own kind of identity, but they’re all in the same ballpark.

Favorites

Let me just state that I’m not about The One Cologne (To Rule Them All)2. If I had to wear one every day it’d be YSLH or CKL1, because they’re both just harmless. They smell great, and none of the others are better, but like John says it’s not about what’s better-than.

I think, in a lot of things in life, you’ve got to ask Why Not Both?

My favorite everyday scents are YSLH, LDIM, and LC12. YSLH has gone up in price, so I hesitate to use it up. LDIM is very nice. LC12 has a bit more “ahh” to it, somehow. CKL1 is a good default.

usually but every now and then
YSLH, LDIM, LC12 ADGO, CHIM

Others

Some other stuff I’ve smelled, from memory:

E d C smells like
DFAH burning tires, leather jackets, gasoline, pepper, ash
YSLO spice cake, vanilla, pomander
GUCC like YSLH but more powdery floral less sweet
DSAU like a hot blue sky, soap sauna

Free association

E d C smells like
YSLK pastel pink & blue
PDBL a dark room or beach, purple, orange light
GVET yellow green grassy field, evergreen forest
GVPI sugarless synthetic vanilla, sea-salted
YSLH a golden oil, nectar
CKL1 a pink t shirt, warm breeze, dusk
PBLU a white blue cloud, green & gold
LC12 blue & white, Audi
LDIM white silver mist
ADGO white yellow blue, lemon steam
CHIM pure silvery white, a gust of wind over a summit

Going forward

I wouldn’t buy most of these again, unless maybe they were really cheap.

Going forward, I’ll probably rebuy CKL1, PBLU, LC12, & LDIM. I’ll look to buy YSLH on sale, and maybe CHIM if I can afford another. The others, I’ll slowly use up or just stop using. I don’t regret buying them. There was actually one fragrance I bought that was so weird I do regret buying it, but I don’t even remember the name; it was something straight outta the 80s.

I’m not done with the hobby! I love fragraces, nothing quite like them. They’re like colors you hardly ever see.

Plus there’s a whole world of women’s fragrance I don’t know anything about (and why sample them if I’m not going to buy them?). I’ve got a soft spot for Juicy, and No 5 wasn’t as bad or good as I thought, but that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Trying new colognes

I’ll try anything at Macy’s, and I do like the magazine inserts3. Honestly, spraying little strips of paper at Macy’s is the way to go. You will probably save money long-term by never blind buying.

A long time ago, back in 2010, I bought a bunch of samples for $3 each from Scented Monkey. That was a very good way to “see” the situation.

  smelled beforehand blind purchase
not a favorite YSLK, PDBL GVET
great GVPI, PBLU, YSLH, LDIM CKL1, LC12, ADGO, CHIM

I say ADGO was a “blind purchase” but everyone knows that scent, I knew the scent, just not the name. And I think I sampled LC12 in a Macy’s but I can’t be sure.

There are some scents I’ve tried I know I’d buy, they’re just priced too high: Sauvage by Dior (DSAU) is like a hot soapy blue sky (not unlike PBLU); it actually smells just like the commercial with Johnny Depp. It’s honestly fuckin crazy, whoever directed that video ad did a really good job.

I’d buy anything Creed, sight unseen, if it were reasonably priced; CHIM is just clearly a cut above the rest, but I can’t wear it everyday I’m not made of money. It costs literally 6-9x my cheaper colognes. Unfortunately I don’t think you can sample those at Macy’s. Macy’s really does a service to us all, letting you sample so freely.

  1. I wouldn’t even put it in my car, in fact I’d definitely not put that in my car 

  2. you’ve got to wonder, what kind of cologne would Sauron have worn? I mean dude must’ve smelled magnificent, being all-powerful and whatnot. You don’t go around wielding a Ring of Power and “get used” to mudbutt, you’d be f-f-f-frrresh. I think 

  3. who doesn’t?! those things are so much fun, esp. relative to the rest of the magazine