2014 is drawing to a close (this year really didn’t “register” for me…as late as last month I wrote “2013” on a personal check)! In an effort to wrap-up some reviews before Christmas, and 2015, I’m tackling three fragrances this week.
Bvlgari Man in Black
Bvlgari recently launched Bvlgari Man in Black — a flanker to 2010's Bvlgari Man (and let’s not forget Bvlgari Man Extreme either). I was excited about Man in Black for one reason: its notes list1 included…TUBEROSE!
Man in Black goes on smelling sweet: with lots of cardamom and “liquor”; there’s a faint undertone of powdery leather mixing with stronger benzoin, tonka bean and guaiac. Man in Black’s aromas are nice (if uninspired) but I’m sad to report its purported flowers (tuberose, as well as iris) are overwhelmed by tonka bean. Though I can make myself smell some iris, I don’t detect any tuberose (maybe just a moment or two of a mild white flower scent). Man in Black would be a good perfume for men who like straightforward, non-quirky, spicy-woody (accent on tonka bean!) fragrances.
Bvglari Man in Black Eau de Parfum has good lasting power and sillage; it’s available in 60 ml ($72) and 100 ml ($92).
Niche line Nasomatto has launched its tenth, and final, perfume: Blamage.2 According to press materials, Blamage “is an unwise and unfortunate creation caused by bad judgment and care.” I can’t comment on Blamage’s creator’s/creators’ wisdom or judgment, but I can say Blamage is my least favorite of all Nasomatto perfumes (and I like lots of them).
Blamage goes on smelling of cheap-candy and plastic-y aldehydes. For the first few minutes’ wear, the perfume seems to be having a nervous breakdown and all sorts of aromas mingle but never click: cheap florals, green, almost onion-y, stems, sweet/gourmand scents. Within five minutes on my skin, a staleness settles over Blamage (as if I'd been wearing the perfume all day) and the fragrance seems to vanish. BUT: there’s a revival, as sweet, fuzzy (artificial) woods (Iso E Super galore?) take over for the duration; the “woods” combine with milky vanilla and (mild) floral notes. After the woods kick in, Blamage lasts and lasts, and even starts to broadcast itself — widely.
Overall, Blamage seems banal, unfinished: weird and mainstream at the same time. Maybe that’s an achievement! Maybe others will love it. One thing I LOVE about Blamage: its bottle.
Nasomatto founder Alessandro Gualtieri has recently launched the Orto Parisi brand; please comment if you've tried any of those perfumes.
Nasomatto Blamage is available in 30 ml Extrait de Parfum, $185.
Comme des Garçons Wonderoud
Last summer, Comme des Garçons launched Wonderoud,3 which (supposedly) contains, among other ingredients, 100 percent natural oud. I’m not an oud-hater; the challenge to brands and perfumers is to make a new statement with the material…not endlessly pair it with saffron, rose, sandalwood and patchouli. Isn't there a crazy combo of oud and XYZ waiting to be discovered and bottled?
Wonderoud begins with natural-smelling "oily" oud (almost “motor oil” scented); the oud is tough (not wrapped in spice and flowers). As it develops on skin, Wonderoud’s wood accord gives off a charred aroma. Almost every fragrance material listed for Wonderoud is discernible, but the standout notes for me are oud and guaiac (with a pungent cedar “after-aroma” that turns softer and sweeter in the extreme dry-down). Wonderoud is a simple perfume that smells really good and conjures up memories for me of visits to temples in Thailand, with their scents of teak, sandalwood, and incense. My only complaint? Wonderoud has mediocre longevity and almost no sillage; I reapplied the fragrance twice on days I wore it.
Comme des Garçons Wonderoud is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $145.
1. Bvlgari Man in Black listed fragrance notes: rum, spices, tuberose, iris, leather accord, benzoin, tonka bean and guaiac wood.
2. You can see a preview of the documentary film The Nose — Searching for Blamage here.
3. Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu; fragrance notes of Texas cedarwood, oud, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, guaiac wood and pashminol (Givaudan molecule; sandalwood).