One Thousand Scents

Friday, February 06, 2009

Piercing: Ed Hardy Love & Luck

In the first ten seconds or so after I first tried the new Ed Hardy scent, Love & Luck, my thoughts ran more or less as follows, though possibly not quite as organized:

"That's it. I give up. I can't do this any more. I can't keep trying all these new men's scents, because they're all the same and they're all horrible. Why do I keep putting myself through this? They're not even aimed at me, but at eighteen-year-olds who don't know anything about scent except what they've seen on TV commercials for Axe. I'll just stick to niche scents, where at least there's a chance of something original and interesting."

I got over it, after a while.

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The chemists behind Love & Luck have managed to steam-distill a factory whistle, which, while it might be a very clever feat of engineering, does nothing to advance the art of perfumery. The scent opens extraordinarily loud; it's high, sharp, metallic, and insistent. It stays that way for quite some time, too, much longer than you'd expect the top notes to last--again, a testament to the chemical prowess of the scent's creators, for better or worse. I managed to keep from scrubbing it off, because I wanted to experience the whole scent from start to finish, but it was a chore and a torment.

The top is one of those chromium-plated aquatic scents we've been plagued with for the last twenty years or so, with a green-orange overtone. It supposedly is based on absinthe, which I've never smelled or tasted, but if it smells like this, I'll stick to gin and tonic, thanks.

After a long while, though, the shattering din diminishes, and the middle of the scent emerges: to my great surprise, it's very nice, soft and woody, with the noticeable scents of violet and vetiver alongside cypress. (The sharpness of the opening doesn't disappear altogether, but it's modulated enough to be tolerable.) Love & Luck isn't particularly original--it calls to mind in one way or another a lot of men's scents of the last generation or so, starting with Geoffrey Beene's Grey Flannel--but young men could do a lot worse, as long as they refrain from applying too much, and they stay away from living things until that top note burns off.

The bottle certainly is striking (Ed Hardy is a tattoo artist); I would imagine quite a lot of this is going to sell on the strength of the packaging alone.

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