Articles by Author Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison
Managing Editor & Columnist
Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as Playboy, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting www.MarlenHarrison.com.
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Van Cleef & Arpels, Midnight in Paris, EDP (2010) Van Cleef & Arpels, Midnight in Paris, EDP (2010)

Fragrance Reviews 12/14/10 01:50 (9 comments)

  Summary : The first men’s scent from luxury French jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels in nine years, Midnight in Paris is VC&A’s entry into “Haute Parfumerie” and returns to a mood set by Bvlgari Black back in 1998 by offering a downright intoxicating blend of yerba mate, lemon, lily of the valley, leather and incense. Pros: An unusual and effective use of lily of the valley paired with yerba mate, a type of holly used as tea; available in both eau... (more)

The first men’s scent from luxury French jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels in nine years, Midnight in Paris is VC&A’s entry into “Haute Parfumerie” and returns to a mood set by Bvlgari Black back in 1998...

Clarins Eau des Jardins (2010) Clarins Eau des Jardins (2010)

Fragrance Reviews 12/12/10 03:50 (6 comments)

Summary: Clarins’ fourth “Treatment Fragrance,” Eau des Jardins (or Garden Waters) is a citrus and fruit cocktail that easily works as a unisex aroma while also offering skin care benefits. Pros: Easy to wear and truly mood-elevating; great price. Cons: Many folks will write this one off as nothing new when they first test it. Give it some time, however, and the scent becomes addictive. Designer’s Description: “More than a fragrance, this upl... (more)

Clarins’ fourth “Treatment Fragrance,” Eau des Jardins (or Garden Waters) is a citrus and fruit cocktail that easily works as a unisex aroma while also offering skin care benefits.

Sarah Jessica Parker Covet (2007)Sarah Jessica Parker Covet (2007)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 12/11/10 02:27 (16 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. Summary : Despite its notorious status as a commercial disaster, Covet’s floral-chocolate and woods work surprisingly well as a unisex scent and dries down to a comforting soapy cocoa. Notes : Wet greens, geranium leaves, sicilian lemon, lavender, chocolate, honeysuckle, magnolia, muget, musk, vetiver, bois de cashmere, teakwood, amber ... (more)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less.

Perry Ellis for Men, Original (1985) Perry Ellis for Men, Original (1985)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 12/02/10 11:24 (6 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. Summary: Launched in 1985, just a year before the landmark Obsession for Men, and then relaunched in 2006, this spicy amber scent wears as well today as it did 25 years ago and for some noses may even be better than Obsession. Notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Rose, Carnation, Leather, Moss, Vanilla. Price: As low as $15 US ... (more)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less.

Laura Biagiotti Mistero di Roma Donna (2010) Laura Biagiotti Mistero di Roma Donna (2010)

Fragrance Reviews 12/01/10 03:05 (6 comments)

Summary: Twenty-two years since the premiere of the stellar Roma Donna, Biagiotti offers Mistero, a flanker that capitalizes on the citrus and gourmand aspects of the original but with an entirely different character. Pros: Long-lasting on my skin; perfect for lovers of vanilla or grapefruit scents. Cons: Only a hint of the original and not as dark or mysterious as the name might suggest, so test with no expectations.          &... (more)

"Mistero di Roma caresses the emotions, weaving an enigmatic web of sensations. The composition is initially stimulating and fresh like the ‘wind from the west’ in Rome, like the breeze in the afte...

Creed Aventus (2010)Creed Aventus (2010)

Fragrance Reviews 11/16/10 13:55 (6 comments)

Summary : Creed’s newest men’s launch , its first non-limited edition aimed at men since 2005’s Original Santal , is a blend of fruit and woods, most notably pineapple and birch, and serves as an ideal counterpart to 2009’s rose, plum and cedar themed Acqua Fiorentina . Pros : Completely unisex in my opinion; well-suited to any climate and easy to wear; in a word, that pineapple note is “delicious.” Cons : High pricepoint may make t... (more)

"I’ve now used every drop of Aventus that Creed has shared with me and I want, no, I NEED more." Marlen Harrison

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 (2010)Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 (2010)

Fragrance Reviews 11/16/10 10:13 (4 comments)

Summary : Natural ingredients and radiant green notes mark the debut unisex fragrance from England’s Liz Earle Natural Active Skincare line . Pros : A green floral chypre, something of a rarity in perfumery these days. Cons : Not in wide release so may be difficult to get a hold of; the herbal nature of this one (not sweet, not fruity, not foody) might discourage some; see “reminds me of” section below. Designer’s Description ... (more)

"Botanical Essence No. 1 is a summer picnic, an icy stream in a forest after a summer thunderstorm, broken twigs, ripped leaves, soil and decay, citrus rinds and moist skin." Marlen Harrison

Oscar de la Renta pour Lui (1980)Oscar de la Renta pour Lui (1980)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 10/27/10 22:20 (18 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. BARGAIN FRAGRANCE REVIEWS Azzura by Azzaro , Ted Lapidus pour Lui , Paradox Green Jacomo , Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin , Wings for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills , Lanvin Oxygene (2000) , Jacomo de Jacomo , Cabaret Pour Homme by Gres   Summary : Though recently reformulated,  Oscar de la Renta ... (more)

"If darker, complex, incense aromas are your thing, I'd definitely give OL a try." Marlen Harrison

Cabaret pour Homme by Gres (2004)Cabaret pour Homme by Gres (2004)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 10/26/10 19:19 (5 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. BARGAIN FRAGRANCE REVIEWS Azzura by Azzaro , Ted Lapidus pour Lui , Paradox Green Jacomo , Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin , Wings for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills , Lanvin Oxygene (2000) , Jacomo de Jacomo   Summary : Launched in 2004, this Pierre Bourdon creation barely made a mark upon its arriva... (more)

If you love lavender, sandalwood, or pineapple, give it a shot. "Come blow your horn, start celebrating, right this way your Cabaret is waiting..."

Christian Dior Fahrenheit Absolute (2009)Christian Dior Fahrenheit Absolute (2009)

Fragrance Reviews 10/26/10 17:56 (10 comments)

  Twenty-one years after its debut, Fahrenheit welcomes a new member of the family, a darker, smoldering take on the original with added notes of myrrh, aoud and incense.       Pros : Strong without being overbearing; improves on the original (richer, almost smoky) and Fahrenheit 32 (neither as sweet nor floral), in my opinion; a woody-incense version of the original. Cons : Gone is the almost petrol-like marriage of violet, chamomile and o... (more)

Marlen Harrison's experience with Fahrenheit Absolute: "I enjoy the first two hours with its smell of burning resins, absolutely the best part of Absolute."

Thierry Mugler Womanity (On a Man) (2010)Thierry Mugler Womanity (On a Man) (2010)

Gender Bender 10/22/10 16:13 (25 comments)

Summary : Though the name suggests a specific audience, I follow my aversion to gender boundaries in perfumery and explore the aroma of Womanity  ... on a man. Having followed the near perfect split of lovers and haters of this controversial fig, fig wood and caviar aroma, I document my own fragrant journey and declare the scent a sweet success. Pros : Manages to offer familiarity (fresh, tangy, aquatic citrus and red fruit) with something new (ashy wood and salt water c... (more)

Womanity on a man ... why not?

Jacomo de Jacomo (1980)Jacomo de Jacomo (1980)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 10/04/10 17:13 (8 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. BARGAIN FRAGRANCE REVIEWS Azzura by Azzaro , Ted Lapidus pour Lui , Paradox Green Jacomo , Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin , Wings for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills , Lanvin Oxygene (2000)   A cult favorite from t... (more)

"Have you noticed how this entire incense-theme has taken over the current fragrance landscape? And it seems it is here to stay." Marlen Harrison

Mens Rea - The Guilty Mind, Daniel VauddMens Rea - The Guilty Mind, Daniel Vaudd

Fragrance Reviews 10/04/10 15:18 (5 comments)

A stunning debut from new English perfumer Daniel Vaudd , Mens Rea is an aquatic chypre made in the UK of 80% organic ingredients, a sea of white flowers set against oceanic notes and a hint of suede and vetiver.   Pros : Makes good use of white flowers without feeling overly-floral; easily works as a unisex scent; one of the least synthetic and likewise least predictable marine acco... (more)

Marlen's experience with Mens Rea by Daniel Vaudd and an exclusive offer on the Daniel Vaudd site.

Lanvin Oxygene (2000)Lanvin Oxygene (2000)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 09/26/10 23:32 (8 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less.  BARGAIN FRAGRANCE REVIEWS Azzura by Azzaro , Ted Lapidus pour Lui , Paradox Green Jacomo , Histoire d'Eau by Mauboussin , Wings for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills Oxygene by Lanvin : Available for around $10 US at discount stores everywhere, this one is a sandalwood lover’s dream accented with a pepp... (more)

Review from the Bargain Fragrance Reviews series. This time about Lanvin Oxygene.

Prends Garde a Toi by Ego Facto (2009)Prends Garde a Toi by Ego Facto (2009)

Fragrance Reviews 09/10/10 12:32 (6 comments)

Prends Garde a Toi by Ego Facto : a unisex, woody floral focused on jasmine and nettle oil that feels a bit like a throwback to late '70s/early '80s power fragrances, Anais Anais and Giorgio, but without the 24-hour longevity. Reminds me of : At the beginning, I’m definitely reminded of Anais Anais , and then a hint of Giorgio’s white flowers floats in. Ever so quickly, the scent morphs and I’m reminded of Hermes’ 24 Faubourg although orange blossom is no... (more)

Marlen enjoys Prends Garde a Toi by Ego Facto, and invites you to discuss gender labels for fragrances.

Ted Lapidus pour LuiTed Lapidus pour Lui

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 07/28/10 13:13 (9 comments)

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less.  TL Pour Lui by Ted Lapidus is boldly going where everyone else has already gone, but with a decidedly floral gourmand flair. Notes : Lavender, bergamot, mint leaves, and orange flower; a heart of muguet, cedarwood, and vanilla, with a base of patchouli, sandalwood, amber, and musks. So I recently went through new ... (more)

"If you loved Black Code, Rochas Man, etc., this will likely be a winner."--Marlen Harrison

Paradox Green JacomoParadox Green Jacomo

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 07/17/10 18:57 (2 comments)

  This is the third in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. Launched in 2003, Paradox Green is one of the most unique men’s scents I’ve yet to come across.                                  &n... (more)

Another bargain fragrance review by Marlen. This time he describes the unique and very affordable composition of Paradox Green.

Wings for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills (1994)Wings for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills (1994)

Bargain Fragrance Reviews 06/15/10 17:51 (8 comments)

This is the first in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. The third men’s release from Giorgio of Beverly Hills , launched in the era of Cool Water and Eternity , Wings for Men is a modern, sweet, marine-aquatic with tremendous longevity and sillage. Notes: “Top notes are lavender, green notes, neroli, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are coriander, clary sage, jasmine... (more)

"The deep aquamarine blue of the bottle is a good hint at what’s inside-–an inspired blend of hesperidic, marine topnotes highlighted by floral midnotes and light musky, mossy basenotes."--Marlen H...

F by Ferragamo Black for Men (2009)F by Ferragamo Black for Men (2009)

Fragrance Reviews 06/14/10 14:15 (4 comments)

Summary The latest men’s release from the Italian leather goods house, Ferragamo , is an oriental lavender that although late to the trend of Armani Code sniffalikes is one of the best of its kind. Pros: Overall it is incredibly easy to wear in both warm and cool weather; easy to find and affordable. Cons: At first sniff, there is absolutely nothing original about F Black …yet give it a few minutes on the skin and it might pleasantly surprise you. ... (more)

"If you’re drawn to the darker, sweeter scents or a lover of lavender, spray this on your skin and test it out."--Marlen Harrison

Ninfeo Mio by Annick GoutalNinfeo Mio by Annick Goutal

Fragrance Reviews 06/05/10 10:41 (22 comments)

Summary Inspired by the Ninfa gardens near Rome, Ninfeo Mio (2010), the newest fragrance from Annick Goutal , is a unisex aroma with surprising longevity that has been built around notes of lemon, fig, and woods. Pros: A beautiful, sweet citrus aroma with an earthy, woody base, this one avoids stereotypical aquatic and floral themes in favor of sun-heated greens and snapped twigs and branches; truly smells like crushed leaves in the pa... (more)

Marlen Harrison gives away a 50 ml bottle of Ninfeo Mio!

Estee Lauder, Brasil Dream for Men (2009)Estee Lauder, Brasil Dream for Men (2009)

Fragrance Reviews 05/27/10 13:59 (2 comments)

      Summary A travel retail fragrance (duty free shops) from Estee Lauder , Brasil Dream is a spicy-woody aroma focused around a nutmeg, pepper and labdanum accord and one of Lauder’s first limited edition fragrances for men, the counterpart to Brasil Dream for Women . Pros : Easy to wear and surprisingly not a mainstream copy of another mass market scent—feels niche; a spicy incense aroma that actually wears quite subtly. Cons... (more)

". . . Brasil Dream is actually an incense scent. All the rage these last 10 years, such fragrances have been characterized with aromas typically comprised of traditional wood and spice notes."--Ma...

Natori by NatoriNatori by Natori

Fragrance Reviews 11/01/09 11:10 (4 comments)

Josie Natori’s 2nd fragrance for her eponymously named fashion and accessories house is a dry, spicy, floral oriental housed in a stunning purple flacon. The only thing I knew about Natori was that its lingerie is famous and at one time Avon had developed a fragrance for the line. Therefore, having very few preconceived notions, I first was impressed by the packaging and bottle design. In fact, I was at Saks the other day when an objet d’art caught my eye – somethi... (more)

"Natori is a complete success in my opinion. In fact, Natori feels like it could easily have been a much more expensive niche creation, a Lutens, L’Artisan, Killian, or Bond. The key to Natori is ...

Aqaba for menAqaba for men

Fragrance Reviews 10/30/09 08:59 (6 comments)

Miriam Mirani’s latest creation and first men’s fragrance for the Aqaba line is an exquisitely simple yet full-bodied oriental focused on lemon and leather. Every now and then a fragrance comes along that feels like a favorite sweater. It's the kind of moment a perfume addict dreams of - coming across something new to sniff and instantly feeling as if the Holy Grail has just been found. It's that scent that when on your skin simply says "yes!" or the aroma tha... (more)

"...a dimly lit room, candles burning in worked iron chandeliers, white petals dangling from green stems, plush woven rugs, sweetly-smoky hookahs, silk pillows, empty bottles scattered across the f...

Lumiere Noir pour Homme by Maison KurkdjianLumiere Noir pour Homme by Maison Kurkdjian

Fragrance Reviews 10/28/09 22:45 (2 comments)

Straightforward. That’s how I would first characterize Lumiere Noir pour Homme . I am very familiar with, and own, many of Kurkdjian’s creations, and find this simplicity to be a leitmotif. Having been the nose for fragrances such as my beloved Narciso Rodriguez for Him , Lancome’s Miracle Homme , and Dior’s Cologne Blanche to name but a few, it was with unbridled excitement that I ripped open my little package of samples from Maison Kurkdjian to see what he wo... (more)

"Lumiere Noir (Black Light) pour Homme is a breathtaking men’s floral centered around rose and patchouli."

The first fragrance from Queen LatifahThe first fragrance from Queen Latifah

Fragrance Reviews 10/28/09 14:42 (7 comments)

Designer’s Description: “The first fragrance from Queen Latifah , the charismatic and curvaceous award-winning rapper, actress and singer will debut Fall 2009, in the US, with an international roll-out shortly thereafter. According to Queen Latifah, “Beauty really does start on the inside. It's like a state of mind, a state of love if you will. So I see fragrance as just a natural expression of this state of love: scent expresses a woman’s confidence and ... (more)

Marlen's analysis of Queen by Queen Latifah. "The scent is absolutely delicious and highly addictive; perfect for lovers of earthier, dessert aromas."

Scent by the sea: Cote d'AzurScent by the sea: Cote d'Azur

Fragrance Reviews 10/07/09 07:48 (7 comments)

I very rarely fall in love with perfume oils because so many of them are either too sweet or offer a drydown that smells like a scented wax candle. It was with some skepticism that I tried a number of perfume oils recently from online retailer, Etsy.com . I’m happy to report that Scent by the Sea has the distinction of not only offering reasonably-priced fragrance oils, but I think the perfumers, Kim & Kel , are well on their way to a successful enterprise in perfumery. ... (more)

"Cote d’Azur whispers lavender rather than shouts it; many coconut aromas can be cloying and fake-smelling, but Cote d’Azur is as smooth as your favorite velvet pillow; incredible longevity; fantas...

Estee Lauder: Jasmine White MossEstee Lauder: Jasmine White Moss

Fragrance Reviews 09/13/09 13:38 (9 comments)

Tuberose Gardenia was the first of Aerin Lauder’s recent line of higher-priced and more exclusive fragrances for the Estee Lauder brand , and it is now the signature scent of and recurring birthday gift for my best friend, Becky, a revolutionary recruiter and human resources specialist in Orlando, Florida. The hot sun and southern heat bring out the glorious floral tones of the first entry in the Private Collection and keep Becky’s nose constantly glued to her wrist. ... (more)

Marlen: You see, the focus here is not so much to produce a jasmine scent as it is to build a fragrance around a jasmine accord. Once I understood this, I began to fall in love...

Creed: Acqua Fiorentina (2009)Creed: Acqua Fiorentina (2009)

Fragrance Reviews 08/21/09 15:57 (6 comments)

                                                   Acqua Fiorentina Summary: Creed's newest fragrance is a plum and cedar-themed scent inspired by 15th century Florence, and yet another departure by a family of perfumers who cons... (more)
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