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Smell Test: Ralph Lauren Polo Blue

  • Kempt Staff
Smell Test: Ralph Lauren Polo Blue

We here at Kempt have always thought that, well, a men’s fragrance should be a seductive contrast of fresh bergamot and rich vetiver for the man of distinction. And that it should evoke a feeling of the freedom of the big blue sky and the energy of the open waters, combined with an invigorating blast of fresh air.

So imagine our delight when a cologne matching that exact description arrived at our doorstep, courtesy of one Ralph Lauren. It’s called Ralph Lauren Polo Blue, and as always, we put it through the wringer of the Smell Test™.

Smell Test: Lacoste L.12.12 Jaune

  • Kempt Staff
Smell Test: Lacoste L.12.12 Jaune

Do you like positive energy, buoyance, radiance and things that fizz with joie de vivre? If so, boy, does Lacoste ever have a cologne for you. It’s Lacoste L.12.12 Jaune, a very yellow receptacle of something designed with the help of a celebrity nutritionist to improve your standing in the being-smelled-by-others community.

Per usual, we kicked it over to the professional noses of Kempt HQ to execute Smell Test™, the greatest olfactory event in the history of March 31, 2015. Here are the results.

Smell Test: Jimmy Choo Man

  • Caitlin Ganswindt


Pineapple leaf: apparently sweeter than actual pineapple.

At least that’s what the perfumers over at Jimmy Choo are thinking, ’cause that’s what’s at the heart of their first-ever men’s fragrance, bookended by lavender top notes and a patchouli base.

Seems... worth investigating.

As such, the ever-critical noses here at Kempt HQ took a whiff, then another—to bring you the official Smell Test™ of Jimmy Choo Man...»

Smell Test: John Varvatos Artisan Acqua


With his stellar track record, nobody is doubting John Varvatos’s fragrance chops these days.

But when a sample of Artisan Acqua, his latest citrus-and-basil-laden scent, made its way into Kempt HQ with the oddly specific claim to “embody the panache and leisure of the Mediterranean man who, without overthinking, achieves high style and an effortless nonchalance,” we couldn’t not be curious.

Fortunately, we have protocols in place to handle such skepticism. And so it was up to our resident bloodhounds/writers to take a good, strong whiff of the stuff and put into words what their noses were telling them.

Their olfactory musings, after the jump.»

Smell Test: Gold Jay Z

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

1105_GoldJaz_HED Rapper + Producer + Designer + Agent + Team Owner + Philanthropist + Beyoncé’s Plus-One = Your New Perfumer.

Yes, Mr. Carter is getting into his eighth-ish career with his forthcoming scent, Gold Jay Z. It’s apparently the essence of an icon in a bottle: power, pride, confidence, strength, success and courage.

But what exactly does an icon’s essence smell like? Yeah, we didn’t know either. So we got our hands on a bottle early and unleashed our regiment of noses on the Smell Test™.

Take a whiff of the gilded mogul, after the jump.»

Smell Test: Odin 11 Semma

  • Caitlin Ganswindt


First there was 1. Then there was 2 and 3 (see where we’re going with this?). And now with its 11th iteration, Odin delivers Semma.

With layers of tobacco, chili pepper and sandalwood, it’s professed as “a collection of notes from distant lands veiled in mystery.” Bold words.

As recreational conquistadors of distant lands veiled in mystery, we’ve put the claim to the test and asked the unbiased and hypersensitive noses of Kempt HQ to take a whiff.

Here’s what they had to say.»

Smell Test: The Glenlivet’s Spirit of the Glen


Just when you thought there were enough single malt scents...

The Glenlivet goes and teams up with Brooklyn-based perfumery HYLNDS to make a “scotch-inspired” eau de parfum they’re calling “The Spirit of the Glen.” (We’re guessing “scotch-inspired” means there’s some “barley malt” and “sherry cask” listed in the scent’s low notes.) And while it won’t be available for purchase until the holidays, we’ve managed to get our hands on an advance sample.

Thus, in our long-standing tradition of providing helpful, honest commentary on what your olfactory centers have in store for them, we’ve asked the great noses at Kempt HQ to take a good, strong whiff and tell us what they think of the stuff.

Check out their slightly-less-than-sober reflections, after the jump...»

Smell Test: Atlas, by the Motley

Smell Test

Yup, it’s that time again.

The last time we did a smell test on Kempt, we investigated Michael Jordan’s Flight Sport. And the results were, shall we say, mixed. But this time around, with some samples in hand from grooming specialists at the Motley and our olfactory palate cleansed of Gatorade and sweat, we’re feeling much more optimistic.

The first fragrance from these young-but-well-regarded curators of fine dopp kittery, Atlas boasts notes of cedar, oak moss, leather and green mandarin. And that’s all great. We’re pretty sure, though, that there must be a more expressive way of describing this “clear, strong and righteous” attempt at men’s perfumery. So we had the finest noses at Kempt HQ take a whiff.

What they thought, after the jump.»

Smell Test: Michael Jordan’s Flight Sport

Smell Test

Basketball legend Michael Jordan has made some questionable decisions since the days we trusted him on the court. So when we saw he had released the “Sport” version of his original eau de toilette, Flight, earlier this year, we were skeptical.

According to Perfumania, Flight Sport boasts notes of mandarin oil, geranium, patchouli, white lavender, vanilla and skin musk. We’re not convinced. So we had a few of Kempt’s most sophisticated noses take a spritz and evaluate. Here’s what they had to say:»

Test-Driving Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb

Our latest smell test comes from Viktor & Rolf, who shifted their popular women’s scent Flowerbomb into a men’s spinoff, dubbed Spicebomb.

The result is full of rich, sweet florals—but in the interest of describing it without perfume lingo, we thought we’d ask a few of our ruthlessly articulate lady friends what they thought of the scent. What follows is an unedited transcript. This could get ugly...

Hear what our panel had to say about Spicebomb»

Test-Driving Donald Trump’s Cologne

In just a scant few weeks, “Success by Donald Trump” will be loosed upon the world at large, and Macy’s in particular.

We know, it’s not our usual beat, but as intrepid journalists, we felt honor-bound to investigate. So we picked up a bottle proceeded to put it through our usual exhaustive battery of tests—basically, asking a few of our most pitiless female acquaintances to describe the scent. It wasn’t pretty, but it was real.

The hard truth about Donald Trump’s cologne »

Test-Driving “Spent Musket Oil” from Brooklyn Dry Goods

Our latest smell test comes from Brooklyn Dry Goods, inspired by the musk of an antique rifle found in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As you might expect, it’s an offbeat scent, full of tobacco, pepper and unplaceable industrial notes.

But enough of the perfume lingo: it’s time to find out what the pitiless men and ladies (mostly ladies) of the office think. Here are their unvarnished appraisals.

We’d like to apologize in advance...

Nine ruthless appraisals of the latest scent»