New fragrances are released each day…and I’ll never be able to keep up with the perfumed deluge. I have an uncomplicated method of deciding what I’ll review: I review fragrances I love; I review fragrances I despise (these scents are much more fun to write about than “average” and “ho-hum” scents); I review “hot” fragrances that are expected to attract lots of attention and sell well; and finally, I sometimes review what Robin here at Now Smell This tells me to review — “sometimes” because Robin is in no way, shape or form a Simon(e) Legree-type person! The fragrances I’m reviewing today merge in the Robin-“hot” nexus. I’m not going to torture myself (and use three weeks of my NST space) to review these scents separately; today, and in the future, I’ll kill three birds with one stone in a “trio” review.
Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme
Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme is described by Gucci as “a modern chypre” and it contains bergamot, cypress, violet, tobacco, jasmine, patchouli, amber and elemi. Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme starts with that tired-and-true combo of bergamot and cypress, then there’s a sharp shot of violet (leaf?) and some resinous-citrus-y elemi. Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme ends with crystalline musk and amber and if you strain your nostrils you’ll detect some tobacco. This “modern” chypre is pretty dull to my nose — let’s call it a neutered chypre. Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme is sweet, well-blended, and “nice” but the fragrance is just as gray as the bottle, the ad campaign and the Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme model’s attitude (who has hypnotized James Franco?…look at his dead eyes in the ads). Buy Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme if you love it, hate real chypres, don’t know or care what a ‘chypre’ is, or if saying you have on the “latest fragrance from Gucci” rocks your boat.
Hilfiger by Tommy Hilfiger
I’m SO tired of marketing copy like: “This new signature scent reflects (Hilfiger’s) Classic, American Cool attitude…It was made for the man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it. He has an inner strength that comes from knowing exactly who he is and what he wants out of life.” The man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it can be a sculptor, a stay-at-home dad, a chef, an astronaut, an organic farmer, a fisherman, a natural perfumer, a llama breeder. Do all those men want to wear Hilfiger? I doubt it. Trudi Loren, VP of Corporate Fragrance Development Worldwide, Aramis and Designer Fragrances, makes a startling claim (startling to those of us who have smelled Hilfiger): “While everything about (Hilfiger) is clean, invigorating and masculine, there is an element of surprise that gives it a clear distinction.” I was not surprised by Hilfiger, but I’ve smelled more perfumes that your average male department store customer.
Hilfiger supposedly contains bergamot, mandarin, pink grapefruit, juniper, rosemary, papaya, curcuma (turmeric), mahogany, white tea rose, warm skin accord, suede, sandalwood, cistus, tonka, and cashmere wood. Bergamot, juniper and rosemary are apparent upon application but the other ingredients are blended in such a way or are in such miniscule amounts that I can’t detect them. To be honest, Hilfiger is not a “type” of fragrance that appeals to me; it has a Sports Fragrance vibe, and I’m not a fan of harsh citrus/“bracing” colognes. I refer to such scents as “mouthwash” perfumes: they smell slightly antiseptic and anti-bacterial. As Hilfiger wears down, it turns a bit powdery and there are moments when I can smell the papaya note (it improves the overall “tone” of the scent for me). I wonder if this perfume was subjected to focus group after focus group and led by those “folks” down the path to banality? Certainly there are promising notes in Hilfiger: tea rose, pink grapefruit, turmeric and papaya, but they are not allowed to stand out. The Hilfiger company wants the new Hilfiger fragrance to become a “classic”; perhaps it could have been if someone, somewhere had the cojones to go beyond mainstream patterns and formulas.
Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men
Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men (see image at top) was created for a young consumer, one who apparently imagines himself — watch the Diamonds for Men video clips — as rich and famous and who admires or has a crush on Diamonds for Men model Josh Hartnett. (actors almost always make dull/ridiculous models…hasn’t anyone noticed?)
Diamonds for Men (described by Emporio Armani as a woody-gourmand fragrance) was created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier and includes gaïac, bergamot, cedar wood, vetiver, Szechuan pepper, cocoa and ambroxan. When I wear Diamonds for Men I smell light cocoa, sweet vanilla, generic “wood” and musk and there’s not much development to speak of — Diamonds for Men’s drydown smells almost identical to its opening. There isn’t one molecule of originality in this too-sweet, fuzzy scent. Why does Armani reserve all its creativity for the Privé collection and keep churning out icky, cheap-smelling fragrances like Diamonds for Men for their less expensive lines? Diamonds for Men has average lasting power and sillage (thank goodness!)
All three fragrances are available in Eau de Toilette: Hilfiger: 100 ml, $59; Gucci, $55-$70; and Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men, $37.50-$62.50.