One Thousand Scents

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Snarl: Perry Man by Perry Ellis


There have been a couple of scents over the years that have literally made me lunge back from the tester in revulsion. Perry Man by Perry Ellis isn't one of them, but it is one that I can tell quickly isn't for me, and even when, as I usually do, I stubbornly try it two or three times anyway, my first impression is hardly ever wrong. (It has been; some scents you have to grow into, which is what happened with Hermes Bel Ami, a scent I have to write about sometime.)

The most unpleasant thing about Perry Man is the top note, which, according to the manufacturer's info, contains juniper berry, cypress, fennel, nutmeg, and citrus notes. It doesn't smell like fennel, an anisic smell I love, but it does smell bitingly synthetic--a piercing jangle of citrus notes alongside something that smells like artificial apple flavour and a few jabs of herbs and spices. The smell immediately announces itself as yet another entry in the already over-represented men's fresh scent category, most of which I find uninteresting; but few of them are as decidedly unpleasant as this one. The middle is meant to be cedar and lavender, but the top notes hang around for far too long (or perhaps they simply stick in my nose), muting anything that follows: the middle notes do eventually emerge, but they remain contaminated with that nasty top.

The whole thing smells like a tangle of aroma-chemicals, not so much constructed or composed as spilled together. It resembles one of those cheap body sprays they're hawking to teenage boys these days; it certainly doesn't smell like anything high-end, not from the house that produced the original Perry Ellis for men, Perry Ellis Reserve, or (tomorrow's topic) Perry Ellis America. They get credit for an interesting package, with a bottle that subtly fits together with the women's version and a smart-looking metal canister to tuck it into, but that's about it.

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