One Thousand Scents

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On The Road: The Grand Finale

As I said a few days ago, I managed to get two samples while I was in Montréal and Ottawa: they're just getting harder and harder to come by, or the salespeople are more reluctant to hand them out, or something. One of the samples was Arpege pour Homme, which I'll be talking about in a bit; the other was the new Dunhill Pure. I knew just by looking at the bottle that it wouldn't be to my taste: pale-blue juice plus frosted glass equals yet another tedious fresh fragrance. And that is exactly what it turned out to be. Can nobody, from manufacturers to purchasers, have noticed that virtually all of these scents are interchangeable? (It is an attractive bottle, mind you, and an attractive sample vial, too; Dunhill at least makes good bottles, if not good scents.)

The scent I came closest to buying while I was away was the new Thierry Mugler, Alien. The packaging is spectacular; it's meant to suggest some strange gemstone held in the grip of an alien claw.

Unfortunately, someone on Now Smell This, after seeing this picture of all the bottles in different sizes, realized that it looked like a family of penguins, and once you've seen that it's all you can see. The scent itself is extremely pleasant, a warm, ambered, jasminey oriental, and after smelling it for a while I realized I could definitely wear it. Unfortunately, shortly after that, I also realized that, fickle monster that I am, I would also likely get tired of it in a matter of months, and so it wasn't worth my $70. Too bad, because it's a great bottle and a nice scent, and I could reconsider in the future.

The new Perry Ellis 360, Black, had just been released when I was in Ottawa, and I was so very very tempted to buy. I have a half-dozen PE scents, including 3 of the 360s; the original, 360 Red, and 360 Blue. This new one is very nice, masculine and sensual with a hint of licorice and lots of spices and tobacco. It was exceedingly tempting and is a definite possibility for a future purchase.

I had, amazingly, never smelled Kenzo Jungle Homme before, though it's been out for eight years, and it's gorgeous: a warm, sexy, vanillic oriental with tons of round, burly cedar. (The bottle is also a killer, with zebra stripes painted on the back and a little tufted zebra mohawk on the cap.) I would have bought it in a smaller size, but all Ogilvy had was a 100-mL bottle, and I hate to buy anything that big, because I'll never use it up, never. (It's why I haven't bought a bottle of Bel Ami in years; all anyone ever seems to have is the 100-mL bottle.) But this one definitely goes on the list of things I'd buy if I had the chance.

The trouble with all the scents I tried while on vacation, of course, is that I didn't get to wear any of them on my skin, because Jim is hyper-sensitive to scents and hates most all of them, so the impressions that I got from these fragrances aren't complete. This is why samples are so crucial. Luckily, I did get a sample of Arpege pour Homme, and my first impression of it in the store wasn't anywhere near close to the whole story. The scent starts with a bright, peppery note laced with sweet peachy nectarine, soon waylaid by a swoony middle note of jasmine and iris. Even as the middle note is coming to the fore, it's obvious that this scent contains a lot of sandalwood; it's strongly reminiscent of Jacques Fath Pour Homme, but softer and creamier.

The lush, buttery base of vanilla and tonka bean, plus all that gorgeous sandalwood, lasts for hours and is flat-out seductive; in fact, as I kept obsessively smelling my skin yesterday, the word that kept coming to mind was "suave", not a greasy lounge-lizard suave but something refined and gentlemanly. And oh, so sexy! I never would have thought that Lanvin would bother making a men's version of a famous floral that's eighty years old, and the two scents don't have anything to do with one another (though the men's bottle is a clever nod to the classic black orb of the women's), but if this is what they came out with, I'm glad they did. This one's a must-buy. If I ever get back to Montréal, I mean.


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