Darkman: YSL Body Kouros
I didn't think too much of Yves Saint Laurent's Kouros (Greek for "young man",used to refer to sculptures of young athletes) when it was launched--I didn't really know anything about scents then--and I didn't pay too much attention to it in the intervening years. I suppose I'll have to revisit it one of these days and see if my opinion's changed. (It's an aromatic, heavily floral, sort-of-oriental men's scent, if I remember correctly.)
When Body Kouros was launched in 2000, though, I sat up and took notice. First, I have to try everything that comes down the pike (a pleasure that's getting ever harder to indulge), and second, it's exactly the sort of thing I love, a dark, smoldering, almost gothic scent.
The scent is remarkably simple. It opens with a riveting blast of eucalyptus, saved from smelling like a cold-and-flu vaporizer by a cool hint of anise and the spicy warmth of mace (a relative of nutmeg). The middle is a big chunk of just-lit incense (with a little lavender and carnation to brighten it up), which gives way in a surprisingly short time, only a couple of hours, to a warm, rich base of vanillic benzoin and tonka bean, supported by sandalwood.
It suggests a number of other men's scents to me: it has aspects of Yohji Homme, Mugler's A*Men, Givenchy's Pi, and Rochas Man, among others, which means that it reads as a men's gourmand oriental. It's not quite like any of them, though: much incensier and much less sweet, the perfect middle ground for someone who thinks that that category is too candied for them.
The Body Kouros bottle by itself isn't anything particularly noteworthy, but when you place it next to the original Kouros bottle you can see how very clever it is in comparison. It looks like the original bottle, with two exceptions: it's wrapped in a shiny black sheath which looks like skin-tight black leather, and it's placed on a glass pedestal. Sexy!
The original print ad is equally clever, something meant to suggest all of this all at once: the youthfulness and athleticism, the oriental gothiness, the black-leather sex. See?