My apologies for missing Materials Wednesday and the other posts I should have put up this past week, but deadlines got out of hand on multiple fronts. I think it will be a little easier this week.
I typically do not enjoy ultra-feminine floral perfumes, but by the same token I don’t enjoy those that adhere closely to the conservative, stereotyped “masculine” pattern. The three that I review today for Mass-Market Monday are either solidly in the traditional masculine class or have tendencies towards it. One of them is a giveaway.
Diptyque L’Eau de Neroli (2008)
True to its name, it starts off smelling like neroli, but with some added spiciness and woodiness. It’s sharp, clean, and fresh smelling, with just the right amount of ambery-woody notes and musk. The first hour or two are quite nice. It approaches “manly cologne” territory, but stays floral enough to avoid going down that slippery slope head-first. It stays pretty much linear, with moderate sillage through the first couple of hours, but then suddenly turns into extremely strong “white musk” that lasts for another 6-7 hours before fading away. The abrupt transformation is complete and surprising. It’s certainly wearable, but you’d better be prepared for many hours of heavy-duty musk.
Clive Christian L for men (2014)
For the first few minutes it smells like just about any other “manly cologne”, with a lot of citrus, herbs, vetiver, and tonka. Within minutes it becomes a sweet, powdery-floral scent, nothing special, just a conservative fragrance that is probably grossly overpriced based on what’s in it. It then flips back to something approaching the initial “manly” scent, which makes me involuntarily think of the “Sex Panther” satiric perfume and imagine this is an upscale version of what it smells like (reminder: must try Sex Panther!) Don’t get me wrong. L for Men is not bad, it’s just a clone of thousands of other “men’s” perfumes with nothing to distinguish it except its price. If I give Clive Christian the benefit of the doubt and believe that the price is justified because they used real oud oil in the composition, it was a big waste of oud because the standard-recipe manly stuff completely masks it. After about 2-3 hours it’s faded down to a musky skin scent. It’s wearable, but I am underwhelmed.
Prada Luna Rossa Extreme (2013)
I was disappointed with this, not because it was bad, but because I’ve been favorably impressed by all of the other Prada fragrances that I’ve tried. In fact, some of them are in my “work scent” rotation. Luna Rossa Extreme starts out as a prototypical “manly cologne” with citrus, lavender and light spices, but mellows a bit as is dries down, becoming smoother and sweeter. Once the resinous-vanilla aspects appear, it’s quite wearable, though by no means exciting. By the 4-hour mark it’s pretty much gone, “extreme” status notwithstanding. Luna Rossa Extreme is a conservative, nicely made, traditionally masculine scent with moderate sillage and longevity. I have no real criticisms, but it’s so generic that I see no reason to choose it over many others in this genre. I have a mini bottle of Luna Rossa Extreme that I’m probably never going to wear, so will offer it to someone who leaves a comment on what you consider a prototypical “masculine” fragrance.
[All bottle photos are from Fragrantica; the mountain with fog photo is a grab from the trusty webcam at our local ski area, which I look at obsessively every day.]