LAYdeez and GENulMEN! Roll up! Roll up! It’s take down time! Who’s gonna be the winnaah of the department store dust up? Which scent’s got the cojones to KO the other fumes with a quick one-two of the ole atomiser? Which of these here puppies’ll be loving you long time, and if you’re lucky, stick around to see the dawn in widya? Sit back, get comfortable and we’ll begin.
Kenzo Tokyo vs. Diesel Fuel for Life. Who cares, right? Call that a fight? More like a friggin’ ballet dance. Diesel limps thru on his ‘smelled it all before’ legs.
Creed Bois de Portugal (standing in as Epicea was unavailable) vs. Armani Code. The boardroom bruiser bounces the flouncy newcomer out of the ring in ten seconds. It’s all over; the fat lady’s doin’ her number.
Comme des Garcons 2 Man vs. Comme des Garcons 2. A curious pair this one. The plain 2 tries to use the sheen of his bottle to outfox the canny 2 Man. To no avail folks. Smoky vetiver campfire craziness eventually wins through.
Marc Jacobs for Men vs. Bulgari Aqua. These two summer beauties would prefer to parade in their speedos than slug it out in the ring, but no matter. It’s the synthetic fig and coconut ladyboy against the best of the flipperfooted marine men. Aqua makes some good moves towards the end of the round, even suggesting a Fahrenheit finale, but, in spite of exhausting his initial beauty early on, Marc Jacobs wins the judge’s verdict in a close-fought match.
Paul Smith Story vs. Lalique Encre Noire. The Lalique’s might and beauty’s been talked up by the cognoscenti; how the hell will lightboy vetiver match up? You know, surprisingly well. Encre Noire’s menacing moves are no match for the fleet-footed fancydance of Story, who tells a tale or two, but not the one you’d imagine (this match is also known as the ‘I don’t do dark vetiver’ revelation dust-up).
Eau de Cartier vs. Must de Cartier. Must is too smooth to fight. He doesn’t want his spiced ambery goodness ruffled by a punch-up with an asexual green-around-the-gills (but oh so lovely) lightweight. Santos would’ve kicked the pair of em in the knackers, dusted down his tux, and had done with it.
Gaultier Fleurs du Male vs. Fahrenheit 32. I ain’t watchin’ this one;the thought of these two duking it out with their manbags has me reaching for my sicksack. Whoever wins, they’ll only make it through to the next round anyway. No use crying over spilled milk and orange flower.
Prada Amber pour Homme vs. Gucci II pour Homme. Though the terrific tea opening moves of Gucci makes him seem like a winner, he rapidly descends into a watered down version of his daddy’s schtick – woodlite ™ – and who wants to see that done badly? Prada may be a little barbershop and lacking in his eponymous characteristics, but style and quality win out in the end…
You know, I’ve got the quarter- and semi-finals mapped out, and know the the final outcome, but I’m thinking I’ll cut to the chase, if that’s okay. I’m not sure I can force you lovely people to sit through 8 more matches…
The surprise winner was Paul Smith Story. There was plenty I loved in many of the others (though hardly anything in a handful), but for me, this one came tops for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s one I overlooked for my usual snobbish reasons. Blinking Paul Smith, lame-ass narrative – ha! – that has no link to product, und so weiter… Resniffing it several months later has allowed me to reassess it, sans blinkers (you’ll notice the language play here – please forgive my pretensions). Second, it really is darn good. It’s one of those easy to wear, crisp summer scents that whilst not hugely innovative, does do something quite different with vetiver. Yes, it’s initially citric, but from the midnotes onwards it develops a wonderfully savoury, smoky aspect that puts it up there with my other favourite in this category, the Different Company’s Sel de Vetiver. Third, you can get it for pennies (well, nearly) unlike the aforementioned spendy number, which makes it as close to must have as anything. Buy it.
Quick aside on candles, seeing as it seems the season. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s no beating Patricia de Nicolai. I’m sitting here, a candle unlit on the other side of the room, and the scent has filled this high-ceilinged space. Resine de Pin, seeing as you’re asking. Too early for this one, I know, but I just thought I’d test it out.
Next week: a review of the seventh Hermessence, Un Brin de Reglisse.
Who do you think should’ve won the dust ’em up, and why?