Somewhere between cough syrup and sex falls Hugo Boss’s 17th (yes, that’s right, 17!) men’s fragrance, Boss Selection. With notes that include fresh green accord, mandarin, pink peppercorn, grapefruit, cedar leaves, geranium, star anise, cedarwood, patchouli, vetiver, heliotrope and musk, Boss's overall effect is akin to sweat and Robitussin.
"Sweat and Robitussin", you’re undoubtedly saying to yourself. Let me elaborate: something about the blend of woods, anise, musk and grapefruit creates a syrupy overtone. As one reviewer at Basenotes put it, there’s a thick "maraschino cherry" like feel, yet without any of the delicious fruit notes. As for the sex and sweat comments, well, there’s something oddly compelling about Selection. The abundance of cedar (leaf and wood) creates a slightly camphorous feel that when married to the musk creates an almost animalic edge. To make the experience even odder is the addition of a “fresh green accord” that seems strangely out of place here.
Selection recalls the earlier Boss Bottled (often referred to as #6) with its woody clove and geranium-tinged aroma, though it is not quite as dark or resinous. Actually, you know that smell of rain on pavement just after a summer shower? Well that’s what I’m reminded of. And that’s not such a bad thing, right?
Despite the list of warmer notes, the scent quickly fades on the skin and this is what I like best about Selection. An hour after application my skin has this wonderful, subtle, "just washed with my favorite musk soap from Greece" feel. But who wants to wait an hour when I could just wash my hands with my favorite soap anyhow?
By no means awful, Selection just doesn’t do much for me, but with 16 other men's scents to choose from, I’m sure it's no skin off of Boss’s back. #17 is definitely not my selection — I’m sticking with Boss In Motion and its buttercream-like base notes.
[Ed. note: this will be Marlen's last column at Now Smell This, but you can continue to catch his reviews and thoughts on fragrance at his own blog, Perfume Critic.]