Let's say you like the idea of a classic big white floral, but they don't generally suit you. Or to be more specific, let's say you like the idea of Robert Piguet Fracas, but you'd prefer to wear something a little cleaner, a little less ripe. The new McQueen Eau de Parfum might be perfect for you.
Do be warned, McQueen Eau de Parfum is not all that much lighter: it's still a big white floral, with all that implies: it's creamy, rich and sweet.1 The sweetness is apparent right from the opening, where the (floral) sugar mingles with plenty of clove and plenty of pepper, both black and pink, all over bright (and slightly loud) fruity citrus. There's all the tuberose, jasmine and ylang you'd expect, but none of the indoles; it's smooth and tame enough to sell on modern perfume counters. The tuberose is not quite so de-clawed (or watery, or office-friendly) as say, Diptyque Do Son, but still, the end result feels more pampered than dangerous. The base is your usual pale and clean woody musk —thankfully not quite laundry detergent, but no skank either — with a smidgen of earthiness under a light dusting of powder. The lasting power is decent.
Verdict: I like little white florals and big white florals, and my tolerance for indoles does have limits, but I generally prefer a few claws or thorns when I can get them. The more they've let a flower smell something like it might in nature, the better, in my book. I adore Fracas, and when I'm not in the mood for Fracas, there's always Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower or Hiram Green Moon Bloom. So I did not mind wearing McQueen, but it's a little too lady-like to threaten my budget arrangements. I will say that it's well done and reasonably sophisticated, and if it is not perhaps the edgy thing that hardcore Kingdom fans were hoping for, at least it isn't a wishy-washy pink fruity floral?
If McQueen is too creamy and rich for you, do try the likewise big but airier Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.2 If it's too expensive, Madonna's Truth or Dare can be found for peanuts.
If you tried the Extrait, do comment and tell us how it is!
McQueen Eau de Parfum by Alexander McQueen is available in 50 ($115) or 75 ($165) ml.
1. And of course, there are already plenty of Diet Fracas models to choose from, from L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons to Piguet's own Douglas Hannant de Robert Piguet or, if you want some chocolate with your Fracas, Petit Fracas.
2. Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is also pretty darned lady-like. I own it but probably only wear it a few times a year. If I didn't own it, and if there weren't now so many perfumes coming out every month that no fragrance style seems rare, McQueen might also be more tempting.