One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Signifying Nothing: Fracas for Men by Robert Piguet


I'm not a big fan of large quantities of tuberose, so I don't much like Fracas. I don't actively hate it, the way I hate Carolina Herrera and Versace Blonde, but I don't...get it.

Something else I don't get is Fracas For Men. I didn't even know such a thing existed until a couple of weeks ago, and now I have a sample of it, and I don't really see the point of it, at all.

First of all, I hate the bottle. You know those knockoff scents, the ones you find in discount stores that say "Our version of Drakkar Noir" or whatnot? This bottle looks exactly like one of those. From the look of it, it couldn't really be any cheaper.

Second, why would you want to make a Fracas for Men? The original is so completely wedded to a time and the idea of a scent--brilliant, potent 1940s tuberose--that tacking the name onto a men's scent, any scent at all, makes no sense whatever.

Third, the product itself might not actually be legitimate. According to the fragrance blog Bois de Jasmin, a company named Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics has licensed the Robert Piguet name to produce his scents (including the famous Bandit). However, according to BdJ, FFC is not selling anything except perfume and eau de parfum concentrations, so anything else under the Piguet name, which is to say an eau de toilette or eau de cologne, is actually a counterfeit. This could well explain the existence of Fracas for Men (and also Bandit for Men, which I haven't tried).

And fourth and finally, the scent itself. It really just isn't that interesting. It isn't awful; it smells mostly of lavender, soap, and, in the drydown, lots of vetivert and sandalwood. But it sort of smells like copies of other men's scents. In fact, it really seems a lot like Rive Gauche Pour Homme without the patchouli.

With that bottle, if you found it at a discounter for three dollars in a box bearing the legend "RAVE GUY: Our version of Rive Gauche", you wouldn't be a bit surprised.

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