digging (into) vintage: Aramis JHL, 1982

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Perfumer Bernard Chant.

I don’t have a lot to add to what others have said about JHL, and certainly nothing particularly clever, but I would like to add my applause. What a great fragrance for men, and thank you, Aramis for re-releasing it. I would love to smell this on a young person who might discover complexity, plush and density from this fragrance from another era and sensibility. I don’t mean to be cynical about the state of most men’s designer fragrances these past few years, but JHL stands resolutely apart from them. It’s funny, actually. My real complaint about most men’s designer scents is that there are so many, and they vary from each other in such small ways that they smell the same even to people who are looking for distinctions. And yet look at JHL. It’s Cinnabar and Youth Dew with some carnation! Given this slapdash approach but brilliant result, I suppose I can hardly level the ‘sameness’ complaint against current men’s designer scents.

JHL is a beautiful example of Estée Lauder’s transplantation of French sensibility to American perfumery. It’s a rich combination of many ingredients (hesperides, culinary spices, balsams, florals, amber), beautiful evolution over time, and coherence from start to finish. JHL is a tribute from Lauder to classical perfumery, but the way she overlaps genres (spicy, amber, floral) gives us something that likely would not have come from France. Kudos for not sparing the voluptuousness in a men’s scent. We like a little lavishness, too!

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