When I went to Nordstrom to smell Dolce & Gabbana’s new Light Blue Pour Homme fragrance, I asked the sales woman, “What’s new and doesn’t smell like everything else?” She clapped her hands and gestured towards a large Gucci Pour Homme II display. I told her I had already tried Gucci Pour Homme II, so she suggested Lancôme Hypnôse Homme or Terre d'Hermès or Dunhill Pursuit or Fleur du Mâle or Viktor & Rolf Antidote or Lacoste Elegance or …. Finally, I asked point-blank about Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme and she said, “That’s OK — but it smells like lots of other colognes.” Her response was unusual; at Nordstrom all scents are “wonderful,” “fabulous” or, at the very least, “interesting”.
Female perfume lovers have an overabundance of fruity-florals to contend with, but men, we are plagued by too many “fresh citrus-musks”. A ‘fresh citrus-musk’ fragrance contains large quantities of “fresh” (ozone or marine) accords, all types of sharp citrus (mandarin, bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, tangelo, etc.) and a base of soft, vague ‘woods’ and light musk. Sniff a department store perfume area and what you will smell is a dull and artificial aroma, the combination of all this perfume “stuff”: fruity-florals and fresh citrus-musks.
Light Blue Pour Homme is a fresh citrus-musk; its listed ingredients are Sicilian mandarin, ‘frozen’ grapefruit peel, bergamot, juniper, rosemary, Szechuan pepper, rosewood, ‘musk wood’, incense and oak moss. Before smelling it, three of Light Blue’s notes caught my attention: mandarin, rosewood (the King of Woods to me) and incense, but my imagination created a fragrance very different from Light Blue Pour Homme’s actual synthetic, and instantly recognizable, scent.
Light Blue Pour Homme begins with zippy citrus (accent on the ‘frozen’ grapefruit peel). In this well-blended fragrance, one strains to find individual notes, but I did “sense” for a split second ‘juniper’ and maybe a driblet of ‘rosewood’. The long-lasting base of Light Blue Pour Homme’s composition is ho-hum ‘musk wood.’ Rosemary, incense, pepper and oak moss were nowhere to be smelled. Not being a chemist or perfumer but having no fear of making a fool of myself, I imagine the formulation of Light Blue Pour Homme thus: add to a bottle’s worth of alcohol, water, fixatives — one tablespoon of ‘fresh’/ozone notes, ½ tablespoon of “bright” imitation citrus, ½ teaspoon ‘musk wood’ and ½ drop of all other (exotic-sounding) listed ingredients.
Light Blue Pour Homme is a mid-strength fragrance and could be worn year-round. The commonness of Light Blue Pour Homme’s juice is matched by its bland-as-can-be bottle. And what to make of the advertisements? There’s a tan man in a boat, legs splayed, aiming his crotch at we viewers, and wearing suspiciously flat white swim trunks — weird and prosaic at the same time! (I did a quick search of Vogue Hommes and L’Uomo Vogue to see if European audiences were allowed to see the bulges that normally appear within a man’s swim trunks but could not find a Light Blue Pour Homme advertisement.)
The week I sampled Light Blue Pour Homme I came upon some 50-60 tuxedoed teenage men standing together on the sidewalk in front of a Cheesecake Factory restaurant (“Welcome Class of 2007!”) As I passed this bunch, the smell of Light Blue Pour Homme was powerful in the air. Of course it was probably not Light Blue Pour Homme that I smelled, but the scent of modern mainstream male perfumery into which Light Blue Pour Homme blends effortlessly.