There's been lots of Internet chatter about Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme1 (henceforth referred to as "Guilty Absolute"). Fragrance commenters on Basenotes are divided about Guilty Absolute's aromas: "unexpected" (speedracer), "headache-inducing...engine oil" (Zgb), "an old pick-up my father owned" (odioustoilet) and "the smell of band-aids" (The_Cologneist).
Online reviews at Nordstrom couldn't be more different in tone:
"Absolutely disgusting. It smells like it would numb your tongue if you licked it. I HONESTLY don't know how Gucci could release such an abysmal cologne..."
Warm and Spicy
"I sampled and bought this not knowing that is for men, it is absolutely divine. This is a very heady, spicy scent, best in winter. If you like Opium, Coco, Shalimar, etc., you will probably like this, I find it absolutely seductive."
Engine oil, vintage pick-up trucks, BAND-AID® scent, and tongue-numb'ers are my kinda fragrance notes (and I wear Shalimar Extrait all winter). Guilty Absolute also intrigued me because perfumer Alberto Morillas used a (supposedly) natural extract of a local ingredient: Nootka Cypress (found growing where I live in the coastal Pacific Northwest).
After sniffing Guilty Absolute I must say unless the BAND-AIDs are scented by Hermès, the engine oil is made of resins, and the pick-up truck it powers is used regularly by Morillas on his perfume-making rounds, I can't agree with the comments above! (I hope none of you are licking or drinking perfume, either...no doubt it will numb your tongue.) To me, Guilty Absolute is a delightful wood-centric (not eccentric) fragrance.
Gucci claims Guilty Absolute is linear: "The scent is defined by a singular fragrance structure, rather than the traditional fragrance pyramid of a base, heart and top note.... Once applied, the fragrance remains unchanged on one’s skin." On my skin, there is a shift between the first few hours of wear (wood, Wood and more WOOD) and Guilty Absolute's base.
Guilty Absolute begins with a lovely, natural-smelling, sweet/resinous (almost-milky) wood note, part cedar-part cypress; at first, the scent is STRONG (and a bit medicinal in character). Vetiver joins the wood note quickly and it's a hefty vetiver (this phase brought to mind Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire). A musky leather aroma follows the vetiver but doesn't last too long. Guilty Absolute's base presents a dry cedar-cypress note combined with buoyant, vanillic patchouli. I enjoy Guilty Absolute from start to disappearance.
Guilty Absolute, for all its apparent weight to the wearer, has minor sillage. It's a great perfume for work or to wear in close quarters and it's fine (light enough) for summer. Guilty Absolute's a contemplative (quiet) perfume and my favorite Gucci fragrance since the discontinued Eau de Gucci and Gucci Pour Homme.
Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Homme is available in 50 ml ($78), 90 ml ($99) and 150 ml ($125) Eau de Parfum .
1. Listed fragrance notes of WoodLeather®, Goldenwood®, patchouli and vetiver.
Note: middle image is Nootka Cypress Cupressus nootkatensis along the trail to Skuna Bay, Nootka Island, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada [altered] via Wikimedia Commons.