Around the time Ed Hardy Man was released, I told friends how much I loved Ed Hardy designs, and that I intended to buy a piece of Ed Hardy jewelry. I noted the shocked looks on my friends’ faces, their barely suppressed laughter, and I thought: “Wimps! I think the designs are interesting!” It took about a month, and a trip to Nordstrom, to realize my mistake. I had confused ED Hardy designs:
with JOHN Hardy designs:
No wonder my friends were laughing! Though both companies produce whimsical, Asian-influenced collections, Ed Hardy designs are for someone much younger than me. (I was more conservative at 18 than I am today; I was so uptight in my teens I probably wouldn’t have worn John Hardy’s designs either.)
When it comes to perfume, I’m usually not so concerned about the “youthfulness” of a fragrance, OR the opposite — a fragrance’s “mature” vibe. I like and wear both “young,” fun fragrances and more staid, “classical” scents, so I approached the two Ed Hardy men’s fragrances with an open mind.
Ed Hardy Man contains bergamot, mandarin, clary sage, thuja, Mint Julep accord with ozone, musk, Sequoia Forest note, and amber. Ed Hardy Man opens with our old friend, the predictable, but “warm,” bergamot; there is also a dollop of mint, a hint of mandarin. Ed Hardy Man’s opening reminds me of a personal favorite, Guerlain Habit Rouge; the heart of the fragrance smells of vanilla cookies (store-bought). The base of Ed Hardy Man has a soft, woody-amber and gauzy-musk aroma, and the fragrance ends up smelling fuzzy and comfortable. I can detect ozone in the formula, but it’s a quiet ozone note. The extreme dry-down of Ed Hardy Man is very much like Givenchy Pi (tepid citrus clouded by vanillic benzoin). Ed Hardy Man (to me) is a fragrance for winter; it’s too sweet and warm for hot-weather wear.
Ed Hardy Love & Luck Man includes notes of bergamot, orange, mandarin, cardamom, absinthe, sage, cypress, violet, musk, cedar, vetiver and agarwood. Love & Luck Man goes on lighter and has brighter, cooler citrus notes than Ed Hardy Man. Love & Luck Man’s mandarin-orange notes provide a steady stream of fruitiness; there’s also a subtle herbal-green accord and an aquatic-violet aroma. Agarwood? I don’t smell it; if it’s in the fragrance it must be in miniscule portion. Love & Luck Man is a good (sensible) addition to the Ed Hardy men’s fragrance range since it fits into the “summer slot” for men. Love & Luck Man is VERY “fresh” and its notes turn talc-y within a half hour on my skin.
Ed Hardy Man and Love & Luck Man are far from original; perfume fanatics have smelled hundreds of similar fragrances. But these two colognes are good choices for someone just starting out on his perfume explorations, someone who wants to smell good (not “weird”) and who craves the attention a “hip” brand provides. (So, yes, these fragrances are aimed at men under 21.) The Ed Hardy perfume line is financially successful, helped along by the bottle designs and the Ed Hardy name and “mystique,” but neither Ed Hardy men’s fragrance is as “wild” and “sexy” as the ad campaigns imply. If I were wearing those Ed Hardy tiger boxer briefs and the rearing horse-with-skeleton pendant around my neck (and nothing else) you can bet I’d spritz myself with a perfume more daring than Ed Hardy Man or Love & Luck Man; I’d either accent the kitsch factor of my ensemble with Byredo Pulp or camp it up by reaching for something overtly sexy like Yves Saint Laurent Kouros, Caron Yatagan or Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan. (Perhaps I’ve found my Halloween costume for 2009? All I’ll need is a spray-on tan to complete the ‘look’!)
The Ed Hardy men’s fragrances were created by perfumer Olivier Gillotin and retail for $55 (50 ml) and $75 (100 ml).