Spice Jar: Bulgari Blu pour Homme
Sometimes people describe a scent as being soapy; something that smells clean, fresh, just-showered. Bulgari Blu pour Homme doesn't smell like that, but it has in its spicy top note an extremely peculiar aspect: it smells to my nose like powdered laundry detergent. Not any particular name-brand detergent; it just smells strong and pulverized and alkaline and detersive.
Other than that, what lunges off your skin at first is a mélange of spices, most aggressively ginger, though the other notes are said to include cardamom and galanga, otherwise known as galingale (which I've written about on my other blog).
Casting spices in the role of top note is, of course, a rather odd move, because most spices are fairly long-lived, and so it takes quite a while for the middle notes to become evident. They eventually do; the gingeriness slowly backs away to make room for the dark-green floral notes of the middle (nicotiana, aka tobacco-flower, and juniper), which are never strong enough to completely overpower that tenacious ginger. (Blu pour Homme was released a year or so after the women's version, Blu, which shares the ginger top note, to an entirely different effect, because the rest of the scent is soft and vanillic, with wisteria around the edges.) Eventually the ginger does fade, leaving--unsurprisingly for a men's scent--a small stand of trees, mostly sandalwood.
I like Blu pour Homme well enough, but I don't love it; it's a little too jarring, from that powdered-detergent top note to the pungency of the spices. It never seems to settle down. There are plenty of other spicy scents I prefer: Catalyst for Men most of all, but also Guerlain's Winter Delice and Yves Rocher's Nature Millennaire pour Homme, to name just a couple. Still, sometimes you like to be shaken up a bit.