My favorite Bang Bang can be heard here. (Perhaps you’d like to listen as you read this review?) Marc Jacobs Bang Bang was released in August, and compared to the splashy debut of Bang, didn’t even merit a drum-roll, let alone a double-bang. I’ve seen no Bang Bang advertisements in magazines and the fragrance seems to be available only on the Marc Jacobs website in the U.S. — not in any major department stores.
Recently, a Nordstrom perfume sales person told me original Bang was a flop with consumers. (Clerk: “It didn’t smell good. We’re not stocking Bang anymore…and there’s a new Bang?”) All this surprised me — a Nordstrom perfume counter employee dissing a fragrance? Bang, such an original, pert, fun fragrance, a dud?
Bang Bang was developed by perfumer Yann Vasnier and lists notes of lemon, fennel, cardamom, sage, patchouli, sandalwood and cashmere musks.* Ignoring the advice I give others, I bought Bang Bang…unsniffed.
Bang Bang is not a variation on Bang; to my nose there is no relationship between the two perfumes, apart from the names and bottles. Where Bang is sharp, pungent, “clear” and centered around pepper, Bang Bang is soft, diffuse, “fuzzy” and built around cardamom. Bang Bang starts with cardamom-y citrus; as the citrus fades a sheer cedar-sandalwood aroma appears and slowly turns milky (with a glimmer of coconut and spice —more cardamom). As the fragrance becomes “rigid” (stops developing) one is left with quiet sandalwood-cedar, tonka and sweet see-thru musk (tinged with the softest veil of incense imaginable...benzoin?) Overall, Bang Bang is linear; what you smell on skin after the first ten minutes is what you smell all day.
Do I like Bang Bang as much as Bang? Noooo. My tastes run more towards the brash than the demure when it comes to fragrances, but I’m not too unhappy I bought Bang Bang (I can give it to a Bang Bang lover, use it as a room spray, or wear it on days when I want an understated perfume). Bang Bang is unisex, and has good lasting power and minimal sillage.
My favorite Bang Bang is still by Dalida.
Marc Jacobs Bang Bang is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette ($55/75).
*Note lists for Bang Bang go from super-simple to complex depending on the source of the information; the Marc Jacobs website lists only lemon, sandalwood and musk.