One Thousand Scents

Monday, March 20, 2006

Inside the Lines: Alfred Sung Homme

Fragrances are often--nearly always--compared to music, with their notes and their development over time, but sometimes they're more like paintings. Some fragrances are like big, complex canvases, and some are crayon doodles using two or three colours. Sung Homme by Alfred Sung falls into the latter category.

By reading the notes, you'd think it ought to be thrillingly complex, but the fact is that you can't ever tell what a fragrance is going to smell like just by looking at the notes. Check this out:

Top Notes
Lemon, Tangerine, Petitgrain, Laurel Nobile, Galbanum

Middle Notes
Thyme, Sage, Pepper, Lavender, Geranium, Fir

Base Notes
Vetiver, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk.

It sounds as if it should be sexy as hell, what with all those manly outdoorsy notes and those basso notes of oakmoss and sandalwood at the end, but what it smells like, in the final analysis, is a scent that was deliberately designed to be as neutrally masculine and unremarkable as possible, the sort of thing that makes people say, "Oh, you smell nice" without any further comment being needed or expected. A subdued sparkle of citrus notes at the beginning, an aromatic middle, a warm, barely-there drydown with a bit of vetivert's crispness to it; it's as if someone had combined the lessons of men's perfumery from the last hundred years and turned them into a single scent.

Despite this criticism, I actually like Sung Homme quite a bit; it's subdued and, well, nice. Not everything has to be dazzling and cerebral or dramatically sexual; sometimes a scent can be simple and work beautifully. My real problem with Sung Homme, I suppose, is that it doesn't smell like anyone's artistry; it smells like something that was created by a committee.


  • I agree, Sung Homme is nice and inoffensive, but nothing exciting. For some reason it reminds me of the original '70s/'80s version of Irish Spring Soap.

    By Blogger Bryan Ross, at 10:22 PM  

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