The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Focus on Mexico: Sandovalis Perfumes and Cicle Club Review

Before leaving the US in 2017 for Mexico, it was clear that there was an entrepreneurial groundswell happening with small start-up companies, stores and restaurants happening throughout the country.  It was exciting to see craftmanship return to the marketplace with people who had the love and spirit to make and provide new and unique products and services.  Here in Mexico, the same is happening, especially with the younger generation.  And because of it, many are bringing a new twist to the traditional in a very exciting way.

One of these entrepreneurs lives right here in Merida; Jose Sandovalis of Sandovalis Perfumes.  As a self-taught perfumer, Jose has used his love of perfume, botany and the Yucatan to create a line of perfumes, candles and personal grooming products that are rooted in the local environment.  Jose cites that his interest in perfume began with his grandmother who had a book of perfumes from the late 19th century.  But it wasn’t just his grandmother that helped to influence this interest; his father and grandfather helped to educate and mentor with a shared passion for botany.  Now, together with his wife Cindy, they have handcrafted a collection of unique products that are tied to the history and botanicals of the Yucatan.  And they source their materials throughout the peninsula with a concentration on fair trade.  To Jose, sustaining and supporting the local people is key to his mission.   Sorry to say however, that these products are only available in Mexico.  So if you need a good excuse to come experience this wonderful country, this is one good reason to do so

WHAT I SMELL:   Cicle Club first spins off of the skin with a fresh and tangy lightly sugared tangerine.  The pefume sparkles with a bright energy.  After a couple of minutes, the cheery opening starts to retreat, leaving the wearer wondering if the perfume is about to disappear after a quick hello.    But as expected, the perfume begins to reveal a more herbal heart with hints of dewy wood.   The light sugared sweetness is still there, but it has retreated in such a manner giving it a quiet and understated level of positivity.  After some time, a tobacco note starts to swirl and rise through the center of the perfume.  It’s projection is just right as it feels a bit windswept off of the skin.

Head notes:  Tangerine and Rosemary

Heart notes:  Good grass and Basil

Background notes:  Cedar and Tobacco

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A quiet early evening bike ride underneath Merida’s Arcos de Dragones.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CICLE CLUB:  understated, classic, comfortable

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CICLE CLUB:  None found.

BOTTOM LINE:  Cicle Club is clearly a gentlemen, but one with a sporty heart.  It’s herbal and woody tobacco freshness is perfect in the heat of the summer and for any time of year.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Aromatic Woody
  • Nose:  Jose Sandovalis
  • Classification: Masculine
  • Expense: Approximately $50 for 60 ml eau de parfum.  Also available in 30 ml.

For more information, please check out the wonderfully historical Sandovalis Perfumes website (in Spanish – easy to translate using Google Chrome).


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Ormonde Jayne Zizan

WHAT I SMELL:   The first spritz of Zizan is a blast of citrus that is quickly tempered with a light mix of pepper and herbs.  It’s very clear from the beginning that Zizan is classic male fragrance…there’s nothing avant-garde here.  As it continues to develop, a sweetened floral mix entwines with the herbs as it warms the skin.  Soon enough, a green vetiver comes forward with a lemony edge.  Actually, it smells a bit like Lemon Pledge at this point.   But at soon as I say that, it starts to have a boxing match with a more woody amber.  There is a lot of movement with Zizan which is fine with me as I can’t wait to see where it settles down.  As the perfume continues to morph, the warmth intensifies and there’s an increase in its projection off of the skin.  At this point, the vetiver has a rather sharp edge, but lingering below may be some other notes to rein it in.  After ten more minutes, the vetiver bows to the light amber.  Still peppery and woody, Zizan begins to quiet down with just the right amount of fight.

From the Ormonde Jayne website:

Zizan, a perfume like no other because it has everything a man could possibly want in a single spectacular scent. This is a powerhouse perfume. Expect a deluge of boisterous Sicilian lime, lemon and bergamot but to smooth the biting edge, a brilliantly refined concentration of vetiver.

HEAD:  Sicilian Lime, Lemon, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Pink Pepper and Juniper Berry

HEART:  Bay, Violet and Jasmine

SOUL:  Vetiver, Cedar, Musk and Amber

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Classic in its approach, Zizan’s confidence spreads to the wearer.  Think Herb Alpert’s 1960’s classic album, “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.”  Full of energy and oh so sexy.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ZIZAN:  confident, secure, classic

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT ZIZAN:  Manface, Perfume Shrine, EauMG

BOTTOM LINE:   Sometimes I find myself wanting to wear a classic men’s fragrance rather than something unisex.  Zizan fits the bill as it exudes a hefty dose of masculinity without being too overt or offensive.

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Citrus Aromatic
  • Nose:  Geza Schoen
  • Classification: Masculine
  • Expense: $150 for 50 ml eau de parfum.  Also available in 30 ml or 100 ml.

Sample courtesy of Twisted Lily Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary.


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Robert Graham Valour

WHAT I SMELL:   Valour has an incredibly wonderful opening that’s made up of bergamot and brown sugar goodness.  It tingles and sparkles like light brown amber crystals.  Not long after the initial opening, the light sugared deliciousness begins to warm as a wonderful creaminess begins to smooth out the sparkle.  The brown sugar (which never is too sweet) feels as if its mixed within the cream along with the lightest note of coffee.  At the same time a clary sage enters adding a marvelously herbaled dimension to the lightly gourmand mix. Eventually, the perfume moves away from the enjoyably edible and takes on a more traditional amber tone.  Valour feels as if it should be heavy and hefty, but instead it remains restrained and contained.  In the end, Valour remains an ambered hue of masculinity wrapped up in gentle sophistication.

From the Robert Graham website:

The art of audacity and boldness for the loyal and the dynamic. The bulldog has always been a symbol of fierce individuality and willful intelligence a fitting way to top off such a determined essence housed in a faceted decanter and finished with a foulard print. This bottle gives a nod to the well-dressed modern gentlemen.

This blended essence walks the line between fresh and sybaritic mixing top notes clary sage coffee santos and amber wood to give it the epitome of eclectic sophistication.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A 1970s sophisticate.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE VALOUR:  easy, smooth, subtle

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT VALOUR: CaFleureBon

BOTTOM LINE:  Valour is one of three perfumes in the “Collector’s Trio” which also includes Fortitude and Courage, but Valour is my favorite.  The perfume is nicely refined and very easy to wear.  It does have a nostalgic vibe to it, which to me, makes it all that more attractive.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Spicy
  • Classification: Masculine
  • Expense:  $125 for 100 ml blended essence (I’m not sure if that means cologne, eau de toilette or eau de parfum)